I would like to apologise for my long silence. It’s not over yet, but I do feel able to say a few things for now.
I am ageing hippy and one of lifes basket cases who has struggled all my life. I started smoking at the age of 10 and I have been a casual recreational drug user (from 14) and slave to addictions for the vast majority of my life. Curiously, I never had an addiction problem with recreational drugs, but did have a serious alcohol problem for 30 years and, of course, smoking, which I assumed I would continue doing till I finally snuffed it.
I stopped drinking in January 2017, recreational drug use slid to a halt early this year and I gave up smoking on 13th of June this year. I am clean and free of drugs, legal and illegal*, for the first time in the 57 years since I started smoking. I am very well aware that I am neither the first nor the last to do any of this and I speak for no one but myself in saying, my entire system has gone ape-shit, both mentally and physically.
Getting off the booze was hard enough, but my experience of giving up smoking has been by many degrees much harder and what struck me soon after I stopped was how much I used smoking as a tranquilliser and as an ever present little helper throughout my daily life.
From the moment I stopped smoking, my ability to write vanished. I am still in the middle of whatever is working out here and cannot explain it. I have started innumerable pieces of writing, but failed to get past the opening line or idea that set me off. It feels like slamming into a mental brick wall every time. This is only the second piece of writing I’ve managed since June and that causes me mental and physical distress that I have no place to hide from any more.
More broadly, I feel zombified, I am unable to relate very well even to friends and family. It actually feels like a loss of empathy, a deadness that is awful. I have stayed away from Facebook as that just increases my distress.
The feelings I am having are incredibly intense, such that I am acutely aware that this is unavoidably all about me. something I am far from comfortable with. I am not being given a choice in this, and it’s shocking, not least that, as with so much stuff that we bury in life, this has to come out, I have to work this out. And, here’s the thing, as a human being it’s something I should work out, its time has come.
There is a funny side to all this. At a time in my life when I am dealing with cancer and also have the DWP on my case as well as dealing (as we all are) with the worst government in UK history, what the fuck was I thinking giving up smoking at a time like this? Oddly enough, I think I know why. All my life, I’ve been the kind of person who if you tell me to go one way, I’ll go the other. And there are good historic reasons for that. Following the common track in life means conforming to norms I had no part in making, don’t like and live to oppose.
The political oppression we are facing is (nearly) as old as the hills, it’s been with me all my life, but in 2010 the Tories decided to take the gloves off and go full murderous colonial on us. Some super sane and stronger part of me said, it’s time to find out how it feels without the coping mechanisms. What the Tories are doing is so despicable, it is time for me to feel it without any padding.
Unsurprisingly, I am feeling it hard, and my entire system doesn’t seem to be rushing towards getting used to it at any kind of speed (nor do I want to ‘get used to it’ again). I spent most of June, July and August consumed by mind blowing, barely manageable, rage. And that rage is right. We are bamboozled daily with empty words, lies and propaganda, and if I really want to know what’s what going on, then the only way to find out is to take it right on the nose, bareback, without any chemical distortion.
From this place, allow me to share an insight with you. What has been done to us by the Tories is a brutal campaign of deliberate cruelty with malice aforethought. I would like to think they might pay for their crimes in a court of law, but if not then we have available an exquisite revenge. The Tories and their right wing brethren accuse socialists of being cultists and part of the cult of Corbyn.
The real cultists, however, are the Tories. Look how they have behaved and acted against us and the best interests of Britain and the majority of people. Look at the behaviour of Margaret Hodge and the anti-Semitism campaign of hate against Jeremy Corbyn. Look at the bias of the BBC and the rabid lies and hate promoted by the Sun, Mail, Express, Telegraph, Times and so on. Look at how you have been treated, what you have had to live with this last 8 years and consider how much hurt they have cause you personally. This really matters to them, so much so that there is no limit to the lives they will sacrifice to achieve their ends. They have sacrificed the rules and traditions of parliament, in lies, deception and corruption.
The last thing they want is a socialist government.
Their worst nightmare is a Corbyn led socialist government. All their plans, laid in secret over many years, would fall apart, their greed thwarted, forced to act within the law, to contribute to a socialist programme of national health, housing, transport, education, welfare, market reform, domestic services and so on. It will be like forcing a hook into their bellies and ripping their guts out.
Meanwhile, for the rest of us, we’ll be able to begin to put our lives back together. Though it will take time, the tide will have turned. After all the hate and lies that Theresa May has poured out and the suffering she is responsible for, she gets to eat the ashes of her own rotten ambition, a failed would be dictator. I do not suggest voting Labour as revenge, there are plenty of positive reasons to vote Labour, but consider the grief that the right wing thieves and liars will suffer as an entirely fortuitous bonus.
As for me, I am not sure when I’ll be back, but I will be, because I want to be. I just have to work it out, and I have a great therapist who’s right with me in the process.
Love and strength.
* Medicinal cannabis oil being the single exception which I take as a suppository to avoid the high and would not be taking were it not for cancer.
Keith Ordinary Guy