Saturday, 3 December 2016

Bullets from the Bulletproof

I love Luke Cage. I came to it blind, having never read any of the comics in the past, and that was a feeling to revel in. I did the exact same thing for Jessica Jones and was not disappointed, so it felt right to do the same for Luke.

It's an odd feeling; the excitement of something new in a space that I have grown up in. All of a sudden I have this opportunity to have the rug pulled from me and look at something completely fresh. I was not disappointed.

This however is not a review of Luke Cage, nor Jessica Jones or anything to do with MCU or DC. This is about me. This is a call.

This year has been a shit show, in fact I'm going to leave it to a much funnier Brit than me to sum up this year:

That's about right Mr Oliver. In fact I could literally create an entire blog on every definition of 2016. 

I could use alot of sociological background to talk about it, but that in the words of Zoe Washburne would be "too much foofarah"

I got words, and I got them because of my husband. To explain, we were having a tense conversation and he said to me, tearfully, "Baby, we all thought you were bulletproof." Thus the seed was sewn. 

I have been in near constant pain in one way or another since Dec 2015. It was bad enough to put me in hospital in January 2016 and I still have no diagnosis. I've had surgery and along the way been treated with disdain, contempt, disinterest, vagueness which has become straight up rudeness in most of my interaction with the NHS. I can count on one hand those medical personnel who have actually treated me with kindness and sympathy. 

When your own GP is banging his head on the desk at the way you've been treated, you know that something is truly rotten in the state of Denmark. The main issue is that not only are they not sure what is wrong but I have committed the sin of being overweight, eating a balanced diet and up until this all kicked off was steadily losing weight through a regime of Shaun T and Chalean Johnson. My sin is that I don't have high blood pressure, am not diabetic, anaemic or have high cholesterol. I know this because I've been tested for this all over 15 times this year. At one point I was told that my bloods were "surprisingly good".

I've had surgery, which added new symptoms and was unsuccessful. I couldn't work for 3 months and that ol pain is still there. Icepick sharp, stomach first, then down. It bites, crawls insidiously and pulls at everything from my waist down. Sometimes, it burns...almost like a xenomorph dripping its' toxic blood on nerves and muscles. Then the fatigue, a wave that wants to envelop you and shut you down. The world slips away and sparkles with bright painful light. You know that if you give in, its lights out so you fight it, with the little you have. I'll spare you the description of my menstruation.

None of this takes into consideration the emotional toil, the side effects of drugs, the weight of isolation and the pressure on family.

I wish I was Luke Cage. I wish I was bulletproof. 

I know that there are people out there suffering more than me. But we do that now, we diminish our pain, we judge it against a societal expectation that it's not enough, so it doesn't count. BUT it does count and it doesn't abide.

As I thought about this blog and a bulletproof black man in 2016 and the desire as a black woman to also be bulletproof and impervious to pain, I realised that actually Luke Cage isn't bulletproof. A combination of events changes the elasticity in his skin so he receives the impact differently. In a rudimentary sense, it bends. Just like Wolverine, it still hurts.

That's why I'm moved to write. When you are strong, people depend on it, they build structures around that interpretation of the truth, like Luke Cage is bulletproof. The reality is that I feel that strong people are pliable because they have battled; they are callused in places, bending and pushing back further. But it still hurts.

I have experienced what it is like when people think you are strong and then you have to be weak. You have to rebuild, the new callused flesh must take hold and some folks become afraid because you have to challenge that idea. Emotionally that's as much as the physical pain and that was depressing enough. I stand. I am facing another invasive surgery in 4 days. My lips tremble, I'm frightened and I'm writing about a superhero. I am fighting the enclosing dark using my treasured weapons of words, sarcasm and nerdiness. I want to be bulletproof but even in this state there are others I wish were more bulletproof able to withstand all that is being thrown at them right now. My lesbian friends in the US, my people here, the people in Aleppo, Syria, everyone scared by the rise of the right.

What I am trying to say is that people are more than a phrase. More than ever, we must remember that and we must fight. We must challenge our own ideas and thoughts, now more than ever before. It's not about being bulletproof. It's about combining and being there more than ever so the bullets won't be fired. Maybe the strong person needs to be held. Maybe we need to just stop the bullshit and be there more than ever for those struggling. It's also self preservation...we cannot just depend on ideas, we need to put boot to ass.

So I'm sorry I haven't blogged loads this year, but I haven't been asleep at the wheel. I've been dealing and now I'm confessing that I'm not strong. I'm callused but hopefully, I'm getting back up to fight whatever is coming. These words are a way for me to remind myself that I've got me and a reminder that we should have each other.

Thanks for your time, much love xx
Fuck 2016

"Never backwards, Always Forward"

No comments:

Post a Comment