Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Mourning After

There are, supposedly, five stages of mourning. They are:
1. Denial and Isolation.
2. Anger.
3. Bargaining.
4. Depression.
5. Acceptance.

I've cried this morning, and I don't think it'll be the last time I cry today. I just feel like we've let down the people who couldn't be let down again; this is it. I'm telling people I love who are hurt as well that we'll rise... but what we lose in the meantime is irretrievable; for many adults and children, this is life and death - this is having absolutely nothing in the cupboard as opposed to almost nothing. I'll walk out onto the street in a few minutes and see thousands of people gathered outside for the Santa Parade, and I'll know that, in spite of mostly being middle to lower-income families, most of those parents voted against a fair future. I'll feel a lot of isolation, a bit of depression, and lots and lots of anger. And I'll look at them and think how can you be here, smiling? Don't you know what has happened?

From me, this next song is more self-indulgent, but it's very much the case for lots of people who are already living on the edge. This kind of luck can so easily make a good man turn bad. It's not really even a case of getting what people want, but what they need.

I don't really feel very optimistic right now, but I'm no good to anyone if I don't at least try. When I woke up, the song Heartbroke Again was still in my head, but I tried to douse it with Maya Angelou. Her battle is different, but she makes me feel like even when the chips are way down, I can still have the upper hand.

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You can trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful eyes.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Up from the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that the ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya Angelou

I was so sorry, but also thankful, for Phil Goff last night. I felt so hopeless, and isolated, and just wanted to get away, and then he said that he won't stop fighting for the poor and to make NZ a fair place. And nor will I; everyone with a conscience and a desire for social justice has to keep fighting, we have to. This was a significant battle, but the people we fight for will need us even more now, and what are we worth if we don't do it? For me, personally, I have to fight because I have everything. On Friday, after they had signed the register, my newlywed friends played this song, and I played it over and over yesterday (along with other songs they played, replaying in my head the two of them arriving, and looking at each other, and then coming out to be kissed and congratulated by all of us), and thought about how, no matter what happens in my life, the day ends with me going to sleep curled up with Vincent, and that even the world isn't entirely alright with me, that moment is. We both believe wholeheartedly that everyone deserves the chance to have a happy and fulfilled life, and to have the same opportunities regardless of parentage and money. We think that people should be allowed to love whomever they want to love, and marry that person if they want to. We think that all children should have access to a great education, and healthcare, and not be cold and hungry at night, and that no child should be discriminated against because of their parents' employment status or political beliefs or anything else. We believe in public ownership. We think people should be taxed in relation to what they earn, and that taxes are a good thing, not something to be shirked. I could probably go on forever and then we'd never end up watching our dvd, and I'm probably preaching to the choir anyway, but it's good to write it so I can see it, and know that whatever happened last night, these things don't change, and if anything they are even more important. I expect to be fluctuating between the first four of the five stages of mourning, but I will never, ever accept what has happened. And when I'm old and having to use an ear-trumpet and have my grand-daughter drive my friends and me to housie, I am going to tell her I was there in 2011 when humanity lost to greed, and it only made me stronger...

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