What does it take for radical changes to be made in our society? How much environmental damage? How many traumatised sexual assault victims? How many children fighting for survival in broken homes? How many young people burdened with crippling stress as a result of overwork and underpay? How much sickness?

It’s pretty mind-boggling to me because I consider myself to be a (relatively) normal person of a (somewhat) normal background, but I’ve experienced all of the above. All of them. And I struggle with my mental health a lot of the time. So how are those worse off than me coping? Thinking about this truly saddens and baffles me, to be honest.

This isn’t a cry for sympathy. I write about this kind of stuff to bring it to light, to encourage those suffering in silence to speak up and get help and also to turn up the volume on our desperation – as the young voices of society – for change.

I’m sick of spending 70% of my time wondering how to live well while avoiding plastic, avoiding consuming animal products and still maintaining a nutritious, balanced diet so that I can be healthy and happy. Society is not built to support this and so it’s incredibly difficult. The framework is not there. The framework exists in the form of corporations and advertising backing fast food and destructive consumption habits. The result is sick person after sick person, overweight and yet malnourished (in the developed world, that is), polluting the beautiful world around us.

I’m sick of having to fight off the seething anger I feel when some asshole catcalls at me when I pass by in the street. Do you know that I now rarely wear anything that reveals a body that I’m actually really proud of because it’s just too exhausting to deal with the attention? I’ve tried every tactic in the book when it comes to rude men invading my personal space and disrespecting me. I’ve ignored them, I’ve raised the middle finger, I’ve told them to fuck off and no matter the response I choose to embrace, I still leave the scene angry and deflated. To any men that have ever catcalled a woman or worse, please know that we think of you as akin to the dirt on our shoe. We do not find this attractive. It does not make us attracted to you. It does not make us feel good. We see you as dumb, chauvinistic predators who feel that the worth of a woman is limited to her appearance rather than her brain. We don’t feel you would produce good offspring. We don’t want to have your babies.

I’m sick of seeing bad parenting happening over and over again. We’ve got lazy parents who can’t be bothered to interact with their children, so instead shove a smartphone or tablet in front of them hoping it’ll keep them occupied. You grew this little human! Do yourself and society a favour and raise it well! We’ve got parents neglecting their children and withholding love because they don’t understand their needs. And it’s probably because they never took the time to heal themselves of their own traumatic childhoods before entering the world of parenting. They then find said children acting out and don’t understand why. They try to discipline them which only causes further upset and frustration until eventually the gap in understanding between parent and child becomes so large that bridging it is rendered impossible. That child enters adulthood struggling to do life, not really understanding why and feels a bitter resentment to their parent(s) which society still labels as unacceptable (“It’s family! You can’t turn your back on family!” *shakes head*). The vicious cycle then continues if they go on to reproduce.

I’m sick of overtime becoming the norm for so many people of working age. Overworked people are good for very little. All that results is both physical and mental sickness. Weak staff are unhappy staff and unhappy staff aren’t very productive. Every job – no matter how ‘technical’ – has an element of creativity to it. If workers are essentially shoved into survival mode because they are too stressed to function properly, the last priority is creativity. Simply doing basic life becomes a struggle and so you’re essentially paying staff to do what a robot could do far better. You’re not getting out of them what humans are so good for in the first place: creative self-expression.

Finally, I’m sick of the weight-watching-obsessed, calorie-counting, disease-ridden people taking up resources and placing a strain on our healthcare system because they simply weren’t taught about food while growing up. I don’t blame any person struggling with his/her weight and addicted to processed food. It is likely that he/she grew up with parents who put fast food on the table every night or who’s idea of vegatables was boiling everything until it turned the same shade of snot-green, subsequently putting him/her off for life. If you grow up thinking that broccoli is meant to be a pile of green mush, of course you’d rather opt for fries. We need to start teaching kids about food in a way that encourages a healthy relationship to flourish. We need to teach them how food grown, how it’s meant to be consumed, what nutrients we need to be healthy and the environmental impacts of the food we choose to eat.

So my question to you is, what does it take? WIth all these different flaws we have, what will it take to see real change?

Photo via Unsplash

 

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Truth is a beauty; as is vulnerability. It allows you to connect with others on a level that is so much more intimate than any materialistic item you may have in common. I would go as far as saying that I live for truth and the beauty it catalyses. There is intensity and creativity and openness to be had in this kind of conversation. It is a formula for connection and expansion.

What are we all looking for in life? We all want to discover ourselves and the world and some ‘greater truth’ all in the hope that in these things we will find happiness, peace and a sense of purpose. Some of us need to lose ourselves to be found; need to lose all attachment to what or who we ‘think’ we should be in order to be presented by the universe with everything we ever wanted and more, whether we consciously realised it or not. But to do this, you need to be okay with being vulnerable; something surprisingly difficult to muster the strength for.

We are all born innocent and open to experiencing life, but something happens along the way to make us cynical to the motives of others and closed up to intimate connection. It is cruel judgement and trauma which makes us trick ourselves into thinking that we’re better off keeping our heads down and mouths shut, so long as we have a circle of acquaintances to slot into. It’s better to hold yourself back from your truth and have a crew to sit with at lunch than shining in your brightest light and walking to the beat of your own drum.

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There is an essence of youth in this and to a certain extent I’d say that we see a positive correlation with age and giving less of a shit what other people think. But unfortunately the extent to which people ‘grow up’ and live a life real to themselves is limited. Many adults will live well into their lives still playing by another’s rules and it’s not until it’s too late to really do much about it that they will realise that they could have made a different choice.

On occasion I come across a line that hits me right in the feels. It may not be written with the most eloquent combination of words or dramatic vocabulary, but it was written with brutal honesty. With this honesty it is as if I have delved into that writer’s body and seen the world directly through their eyes, whether or not the topic is of any actual relevance to my own circumstances. The same thing happens when I meet someone who doesn’t shroud themselves in a 30 meter invisibility cloak, desperately trying to be accepted. I instantly love them. And this is the point to emphasise: we don’t all need to be living the same lives and experiencing the same situations in order to connect to one another; we simply must be open and willing to learn and respectful of the honesty that others indulge us in.

Think about how society ebbs and flows, how new movements crop up out of nowhere and spread like the flu through all of our media platforms; or how something that you were once ostracised for has now become all the rage and you can’t understand what happened to change the collective view. Thing are very dynamic these days and change rapidly. This is really exciting because a quick search online will bring you an abundance of discussions and tools totally relevant to and likely to resonate with you. It is also so easy to connect with others – just like you – all over the world.

This encourages each of us to be honest with ourselves and others about who we are, which perpetuates self-progression and expansion. There is still a large gap between this underground world and the day-to-day interactions we find ourselves in, but that is down to the fact that this kind of talk simply isn’t mainstream yet. Don’t worry about it though, because we’re getting there. What you can do to fuel this movement is to work past fears of connection and openness. And please, whatever you do, get out of toxic friendships based on suppression and falseness. You can do it, I believe in you!

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