This week is much like any other week. Not just for me; but in general. At any given time in the world there’s wonderful things happening and terrible things happening simultaneously. Air strikes are declared, a new horse wins the National, a Kardashian births a new addition to their empire. But in general, this week is just like any other week. The world turns, the tide ebbs and flows, people are born and die with every tick of the clock.
This week is also like any other in that I try to block stuff out (mostly the omnipresent Kardashians but I also mean actual real news). I haven’t got space in my heart or brain for too many feels. Since having my baby (who is now not a baby, but a four year old) my emotions have prevented me from being able to read or watch the news without feeling sadness or horror with a keenness that I’d never felt previously.
Instead, for my own health, I bury my head in the sand. I just cannot accept any more emotions in my already too-busy head. I basically opt out. Whether I am opting out of being a responsible adult in the real world, or opting out of being on the receiving end of negative and unhealthy saturated coverage, I’ll leave you to be the judge at your leisure. Believe me, I feel both the guilt and the need to carry on doing this, equally.
The News is rarely good; any positive news seems to be reserved for celebrity weddings or babies (see: the Kardashian baby factory). The bad news is so very bad; pregnant women with incurable cancer, drug addicts raping their own mothers, the horrors of war that the children of Syria are subjected to. The headlines ward me off more often than not; I know I cannot change anything that’s gone before, and question how much power, influence, and – if I’m being really honest – energy or wherewithal I’ve got to change the world in any way whatsoever.
There is two real life events that I have allowed through my anti-news forcefield: the plight of Alfie Evans and his family and Edie Molyneux, both desperately poorly children but with separate and distinct stories. I allow myself to read occasional updates, I weep and feel my heart sag, I wonder if the mixture of horror and hope that a reader like feels could come close to a fraction of what any of these parents feel. I think about these two children, both from Merseyside, being the tip of the iceberg. I know deep down there are many more desperately poorly children with fraught and exhausted parents whose stories I have not allowed through my personal news blackout. I pray for them, and wonder if the people on Twitter are right; how prayers don’t do anything and are a waste of time. I check my son’s body for signs of illness; are these bruises leukaemia or just general kiddy wear and tear? I decide that he is probably ok, but pray anyway that if ever illness was to come our way that it would be me and not him.
This week parents across England with kids my age received their letters or emails telling them which primary school their child would be starting at in September. At the nursery school gates a swarm of excitable yummy mummies shared their announcements. As I approached them I could pick out words of relief, joy, and some mumblings about ‘appeals’. One of them clapped her hands and jumped up and down.
Where we live, there is no ‘bad’ school; any outcome is a good outcome, so there really are more important things in life than this. This much animation over the administration of non-selective free education was bizarre.
I made my way through the crowd without being asked my ‘news’ which suited me fine. The same way I’m not obliged to absorb other people’s news, neither do I have to give a bloody press conference about stuff that only affects my son and his family. I’m no more interested in the ins and outs of these strangers’ lives than I am the Kardashians.
On the bright side, my son did get into the school that we put as first preference. But as I have already said, the schools are much of a muchness round here so it’s no big deal. The only difference is that it’s a Catholic school so he would have family and friends there because he’s already part of that community. So it worked out, but if it hadn’t then I would have just sent him somewhere else and if he liked it then kept him there, and if he didn’t then would have applied to the Catholic school after a year. I really don’t think it’s that big a deal and it really puts things into perspective when you know what real turmoil other parents are going through.
One of the yummy mummies was so pleased because, she said, “even though [school name] is actually closer to where we live, the parking is just atrocious and I don’t have time to walk him there and go to the gym”. This lot can get fucked, I thought. It’s hardly a matter of life and death, is it?
See you next time, maybe with some better ‘news’ x