By Rich Wilson.
Illustrated by Michael Julings.
It was all going so well wasn’t it. Wasn’t it? We had plans, we had jobs and we could come and go as we pleased, and yet we took it all for granted. But that’s the ignorant beauty of taking things for granted isn’t it? You don’t even know you’re doing it.
Your phone isn’t good enough, your car isn’t flash enough, your partner isn’t exactly the person you want, but there’s enough good stuff to keep you together. But I wish they were more this way or that and this isn’t quite right and I could do with more of those and less of that and on and on and on and all the while forgetting that it’s a miracle that you exist in the first place. It’s a miracle that you get to experience this mad thing called life at all, get to experience these anxieties at all.
It’s not your fault though. You didn’t choose to be born. Your parents had one too many Pinot Grigios one night then nine months later, out you popped. But they loved you and it’s amazing that you’re here. They loved you like they’d loved no other and they trusted the world around them to show them the way and help them raise you up to be decent, hard working, caring citizens. To raise you the way that society tells us is the right way and the way we all must fit in for the greater good, for our Queen and country. They weren’t to know that the system around them was faulty and corrupt.
We are constantly bombarded with “buy this, it’ll change your life; buy that, it’ll make you better than everyone else,” and it’s relentless. Capitalism and greed constantly pitting us against each other. A decent credit score makes you a decent citizen and the more debt you have the more debt you can aquire, just as long as you’re always consuming. YOU MUST ALWAYS CONSUME!!
It’s enough to send you off your rocker and that is exactly what had started to happen. In our attempts to do our best by the system and be good consumers, we had started to realise that we couldn’t keep up. Cracks had started to show in the machinery of the system that we trusted. Citizens that had unplugged themselves from the mainframe were now, in true Wizard Of Oz style, showing us the old, power hungry, greedy man behind the velvet curtain and it was all starting to get too much.
Our anxiety levels went through the roof, our options seemed to be becoming fewer and fewer and some citizens sadly decided that they only had one option left and made the tragic choice to take themselves irreversibly out of the race. Others though turned to loved ones and said “I’m really struggling to cope,” and as soon as they said those words they felt the burden of the greed-ravaged world they were surrounded by suddenly lift a little. Gradually, more and more people started to turn to each other and talk to each other and soon more and more people started to realise that most of us feel like we don’t ‘fit in’ and why should you fit in? You’re an individual, you’re special, you’re not like everyone else. You’re you and you is fucking spectacular!
Society wants us to conform but fundamentally we are animals. We happen to be slightly more civilised and aware than other species but we are still animals nonetheless and that’s why we have all this inner turmoil, this unquenchable thirst for finding out why we exist and how important we are to the universe, but really we aren’t important at all, not really. We are to each other but that’s about it. We are just another species on Earth trying to survive and we now know that we can be wiped out by something as simple as one person eating a virus-riddled bat.
It’s truly magical that we exist in the first place. It’s also truly magical that we KNOW we exist. We live on this beautiful planet and, if we allow it, we have all we need right in front of us - and I think a lot of us are realising that now. Now that we’ve had to lock ourselves away in order to save the lives of our fellow man. We had it so good but we just didn’t realise it.
It’s awful what has happened. So many have lost lives and livelihoods, but if we talk to each other and are there for each other we will get through this. And hopefully, when we are allowed back out again, we will make more time for the important things in our lives like looking after each other. I hope so anyway. I’m also looking forward to wearing shoes again! I used to enjoy wearing shoes. Stay safe everyone and don’t forget to talk to each other.