Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Back to emotions

The last time I blogged was about a week ago and I couldn't really get emotional because I was with company in a van going to a festival.

I didn't have an internet connection for a week while I was there, and that's loads of time to store up and dwell on the range of emotions that festival life can conjur up. So, we might be in for a long and crazy post today.....

I had loads of thoughts at the festival while I was painting people's faces, making tea or coffee and talking about development. Most of my thoughts were questions about how people could get so mashed up on drug cocktails and still have a good time. The other thoughts were sort of centred around how ugly gurning is and how stale alcohol stinks, but in a nostalgic way that reminds me of being places I shouldn't have been as an underage clubber.

I also felt old. I did get I.D'd in Asda buying alcohol for the festival, which made me nearly cry with joy, but apart from that the whole experience just made me feel like a stern parent that couldn't control the 5,000 stupid kids that were there.

However, the people that I went with are lush. I frickin' love The SAFE Foundation - if you don't know it, that's the charity I run with my friends, and we were at this festival with a stall that raises a few pennies for the charity as well as doing development education workshops. In this case, people were too messy to concentrate on development, so it was mainly painting psychadelic stuff on people's cheeks. We do a few festivals every year, but this was the first time we worked a trance/dance festival, and it might not have really been our thing. But the friends I was with, who double up as colleagues when we need to impress funders and important people, were good company.

My friend/trustee Abi was working there, too and, although she doesn't know this, she was full of lessons for me to learn through my observation of her general attitude towards life. She's positive and carefree about loads of stuff and it made me really happy. She was really chatty to everyone, even if they were gurning and dribbling, and she didn't judge anyone. It made me take notice of the way I judge people, even though I'm in a job where I actively design and deliver programmes that tell people the dangers of negative stereotyping. Several times this week, actually no - almost all the time this week, I just wanted to tell people to f**k off and stop pretending to be a cool hippy when you're actually probably from a North London middle class family with a house in the country and a horse. Abi just listened to everyone and responded perfectly, evenly and with consideration every time.

I say the words 'judgements' or 'stigma' every day. Those concepts are so intrinsic in my job, but I forget to sometimes check in with myself about when they affect me personally. I do judge people, we all do, but I listen well and I will always take individual conversations and experiences of someone else as the basis of my opinion instead of judging them on appearances, other people's opnions or really short experiences that don't tell me anything. Except with drugs. Its nuts and I can't explain it, but in the past I have always had the association of drugs with people who don't care about anything or who are on self destruct. I seem to have worked on every other judgement I have except that one - it sticks sometimes.

There was a guy there who was obsessed with expanding his consciousness. Boooooring. I had to listen to him for 45 minutes bang on about all the trips he's done in South Africa and other places and how they have affected his ability to connect with the universe and the trees and the fish and the goats and the stars and the clouds and the shrubbery and the...F**K OFF!! But I have to admit he wasn't a man on self destruct. He was really keen and eager to develop himself and be 'at one' with whatever he identified with. His trigger and his means to do this was acid. Convenient. Or maybe true?

Anyway the point is that he wasn't a drop-out or a bum or a middle class North Londoner and so my immediate judgements were wrong. And I have no choice but to learn from that. Abi clearly already has because she was as patient with one person as she was with the next.

That's it. I think. Not too long or crazy. I think tomorrow I'm going to go even more deep and tell you about the things that keep happening with me and Hannah (twin) and how I attribute some physical synchronisities with quantum mechanics and atomic energy.

Bye for now.


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