I’ve been labelled as many things throughout my life. Haven’t we all at one time or another? There’s no way of getting away from this. It’s what we need to be in order to function as a civilised society. However, when we are judged solely on our basic demographics, in my opinion things become unstuck and we start to have divisions amongst us.
I will confess to having strong opinions of other people’s’ viewpoints, but I can usually see their point too, despite having been called a bigot. The reason for such differing views is because construct our beliefs on what we experience and observe in life. Something we are all entitled to, not least as set out in the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ General Assembly of Human Rights.
I present a few quotes from the aforementioned declaration copied direct from ‘The United
Nations’ website (https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/), as a means to illustrate my beliefs and opinions:
“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people, …”
- Article 1.: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. …”
- Article 2.: “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status., …”
- Article 3.: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”
- Article 6.: “Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.”
- Article 19.: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
- Article 27.:
“(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.”
- Article 30.: “Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.”
A quick point of reference before I continue; you may have noticed the use of gender specific language in some of the quotes ‘him’, ‘his’ etc. Personally I think this is quite unfortunate and ironic given the whole purpose of this declaration is equality.
I take you way back to 17th August 1992, to what has become a linchpin moment in my life. A brief lead up to this moment involved one-way feelings I had towards a nurse called ‘Lauren’ (not her real name) whilst in a holiday cleaning job at Winchester Hospital two years prior. To put this into context, I was studying at Liverpool Poly, some 200 miles away. I had very low self-confidence at the time. I live with Cerebral Palsy, something that has given me many great qualities. However, the downside of this was in my childhood I struggled big time with understanding myself, and being understood by others. When I first met Lauren, I read ‘War and Peace’ into ‘The Daily Sport’ so to speak. I had the insight to realise this, but became paranoid I was one of these crazy stalkers. This manifested in acting rather strange in the short periods I was in her presence.
In November 1991 after waking up in the middle of the night with a spinning head, I had the bright idea of writing Lauren a letter to explain my strange behaviour in her presence. This was a time prior to access to word processing, so it was a case of pen and paper. After wasting half a rainforest, I composed a letter that I thought was half ok and didn’t sound creepy. I Didn’t give this much thought until I moved back to Winchester for the summer holidays. I needed to work to pay off my beer tab. I was sitting minding my own business at lunch one day, 17th August 1992. I overheard two female nurses talking, after a short time it became clear they were talking about this letter. To my horror, they were saying things like I should be castrated and locked up in a mental hospital.
After my initial hurt, I started to think why the two nurses made these assumptions about me. Those of you familiar with my Facebook rants over the years know I’ve hatred towards the right wing media. This is where it stems from. I believe they labelled me as such because they weren’t prepared to look beyond the headlines. I will make it clear I do not condone any form of harassment and abuse towards anyone by anybody. Yes, some people who commit these awful crimes are perhaps born evil. However, in my opinion there are reasons why others act the way do. If people feel isolated in society because of stigma from others, and have no outlet to express these feelings safely, then if not kept in check thoughts can fester and can manifest in dark actions towards others and themselves. I took a bit of sabbatical after finishing and gaining a Third Class Honours Degree in Architecture, 1993, something some people thought was beyond me, because of my Cerebral Palsy. During this time, I experimented creatively and read about different artists and musicians who inspired me. A thread became apparent during this process, the close links of creativity and mental wellbeing. Through doing my own creativity (rather than prescribed college projects), has helped clarify things in my head and make sense of confused childhood thoughts especially around obsession. Further to this, the reading I was doing was confirming having unconventional thoughts was normal to other creative people.
You may think that this incident doesn’t really have anything to do with the title of this blog but the nurses who were talking about me were expressing their opinion without knowing me or my side of the situation. Nurses who should have had some sensitivity to someone who was obviously living from some mental health issues. Of course, they are entitled to that opinion but the facts are that I was someone who was very shy trying to make friends with someone I liked. It’s all down to interpretation.
Fast forward in excess of 25 years and I have a tangible project that puts these ideas into practice, ‘Create to Feel Great’. In these monthly blogs, I’ll expand on the influences and events in my life that have shaped me as a person. I hope this blog, has given a little insight into my views and beliefs. Whether you agree with me, it’s up to you. That’s your democratic right.