Category Archives: Sadness

It’s not that I don’t care.

It’s not that I don’t care.

It’s not that I wasn’t scrolling through  my feed on Friday night with a growing sense of dread…Explosions in Paris, no details. Shooting, no details, also in Paris. Suspected hostage situation at a rock concert in Paris, no details.  I turned off twitter knowing something grave was happening, that around 60 people had died, and thanking my lucky, lucky stars that I had my family safe around me.

It’s not that I wasn’t horrified on Saturday morning when, on that first bleary scroll through the morning’s news it became apparent that Friday night’s events were even worse than it had seemed, with around 120 dead. By the end of the day that figure had risen to 128; I believe it’s now 132.

It’s not that I didn’t want to show my respect for the victims, caught up in something beyond their control, and beyond most of our comprehension.

It’s not that I didn’t want to tell the world ‘I stand against this horror’.

It’s not for any of those reasons that I chose not to set my Facebook profile to the Tricolore.

I nearly did, actually. I had a moment of thinking I should do it, because everyone else had, and because I didn’t want to look like I didn’t care. But then, as a twitter friend so rightly said, would I be doing it for me, or for them?

I do care. I do care about the lives lost, the lives ruined, the children who will grow up without parents, the parents who will live their lives out having had to bury their kids. I care horribly about the fact that this is far from the end of the story, and that there will be more deaths, and that short of actually wrapping them in cotton wool, I can’t protect my kids from any of it. I care that every day, EVERY DAY, brings news of people’s lives ruined, torn apart, by atrocities both man made and natural.

All of those lives matter. ALL of them. Not just the ones we share a common bond with, through geography, or language, or colour, or creed. Not just the ones in a city we love to visit. Not just the ones that are near to us, near enough to remind us that it could be us, our kids, our friends, next time.

All lives matter. But by changing my profile picture on Saturday, I felt I would be subscribing to the narrative that some lives matter more. And that can’t be right.

Scottish Independence and why I cried last Friday

This time last week, the UK could talk of nothing else. From the sidelines, it seemed that the whole of Scotland was alive with possibilities, with hope, with an excitement envied by many of us. Scottish independence had become the conversation on everyone’s lips and it seemed that everyone had an opinion, one way or the other. Including me – my heart was passionately rooting for a Yes vote, and I will confess to feeling more than a little tearful when I woke up to a No.

I’m not Scottish, by the way, though I did spend five happy years at St Andrew’s. By birth I’m three quarters English and a quarter Welsh, though my great grandfather was a Scottish Watson. But it wasn’t through any tenuous sense of ancestral identity that I felt so passionate about the result.

More, it was the sense that a vote in favour of Scottish independence could change everything, for all of us, for the better. And let’s face it, that’s a pretty unusual feeling at elections. Come results day, we all know that we’re pretty much guaranteed a high proportion of self-serving, over-priveleged fuckwits around the Cabinet table, whatever the colour of their tie. While I would never not vote (too many people fought hard and long for my right to do so) I know, as I make my mark, that there is no real change imminent. I vote for the least worst outcome, that being the best I can hope for.

But Scotland – Scotland was different, somehow. Scotland seemed like it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance for all of us to choose a different path.  Scotland felt like something much bigger than labels, or heritage, or national pride – all of which of course played a part.

It felt like this was the beginning of the rejection of the current system.

And you know what, it’s absolutely not right, this ‘system’. It’s not right that people should starve to death because the state safety net has been hacked away to a tightrope. (and that only the Mirror should shout about it). It’s not right that we should watch our public services be sold to the highest bidder, with no comeback when they fail to discharge their duty. It’s not right that the rich get richer, while the poor have to rely on food banks. It’s not right that Goldman Sachs can be let off a £10million tax bill with a handshake, while we’re all encouraged to spy on each other so we can report fraudulent benefit claims (which, by the way, add up to smaller sum than that of underpaid benefits).

A ‘yes’ vote in Scotland would have actually felt like a big, healthy, No. A No, we don’t accept that this is how it must be. No, we don’t accept a world where the rich get richer and the poor are left to fester, as long as they’re out of sight, mind. A No, thank you, but we want to choose our own way, we want to build our own society, and what’s more, we have faith in ourselves and our hearts that we can do this better.

And if Scotland had led the way, in a peaceful rejection of the status quo, perhaps the rest of us could have followed.

I am sure there are those that will tell me that I’m hopelessly naive. That I’m not Scottish so I have no real understanding of the issues. That things aren’t as bad as they could be, so we should all get back to making the best of it. That I should not have pinned my hopes for a changed society on one small country’s quest for self-governance.

But I did pin my hopes on it. And now I feel as if the chance has gone, for all of us, for a generation or more.

And that’s why I cried on Friday morning.


My house feels weird. There’s only two out of three children here, and it just feels – odd. You know that feeling when there is something you think you should have remembered, but you just can’t figure it what it is? It’s kind of like that. I’ve never had occasion to use the word discombobulated before, but I think it sums up my feelings perfectly. Yep, definitely discombobulated.

Obviously there’s quite a lot of occasions when we don’t have the full complement in the house – they have playdates, and clubs, and school – but generally speaking, come 7pm or so, they’re all here. Driving me nuts at that point, sure. Still, they are here. But last night and tonight, my biggest boy has been away on an adventure trip with school. He’s getting the chance to do some amazing activities, and I know it will be good for his confidence, and I’m sure he’s having a brilliant time. And WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH.

It’s not so much that I’m missing him, exactly – though I am.  It’s not that this is the longest I’ve ever gone without at least speaking to him on the phone. It’s not even that he is being let loose on activities like gorge walking and rock climbing and night time mountain trips  – my sensible head tells me these are all brilliant fun things for an 8 year old, while my slightly neurotic head (the louder of the two, usually) is yelling ‘DANGER! and has all manner of warning lights going off….

It’s not any of those things.

Unpicking it a bit, I think it’s fear. Fear that it’s all going too fast. Fear that this is the first of many times when our team of five has to play as four. And then three. And then just two….I’m quite sure this sounds melodramatic, and perhaps it is, just a teensy bit. But it feels like last week that I had my first baby. Last WEEK. And now he is nearly Nine. Years. Old. So by my reckoning, next week he’ll be eighteen. Holy crap. And – once again – WAAAAAAAAAAH.

Does anyone else feel like this? Or is it just me?

*shuffles off to be discombobulated all alone in a corner*

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The Reading Residence
Linking up with the fab Word of the Week Linky over at the Reading Residence