Friday, 24 June 2016

A different kind of grief

Just at the moment I am struggling with losses and sadness and grief. And the results of yesterday's referendum have left me wallowing deeper into those feelings.

I want to write about how I feel, but I can't find the words. I can't string together a coherent explanation of the rage, the disbelief, the desperation, the hope that somehow we can find a way to be a productive, open, free, welcoming country. That we can be the country that I once thought we were.

One of my over-riding feelings today takes me back to when TheEx walked out. I was left dumb-founded, blind-sided, disbelieving. I couldn't accept that 50% of a partnership (him) could dissolve it, without the other 50% (me) having any say whatsoever. And now my country is doing the same to me. 52% want to leave the EU, and the other 48% of us are left saying "wait, what, no, don't do that, I don't want that, I want to stay, we can make it work, don't leave, please, please, please." Now, as then, it's not up to me. All it takes is half, and it's over.

My feelings are not as intense, or as desperate as they were then(!) but the grief is there. And my mind is trying all the strategies it can to escape - I'm denying it's really going to happen, I'm wondering what I can do to change the path we're set on, I'm fantasizing about extreme alternatives, like my town (a firm pro-Remain place) declaring independence, I'm wondering if it's feasible to leave, to find a country that doesn't want to close its borders and seal itself off. I'm angry with the bigots and racists and ignorant, ill-informed fuckers who've done this.*

I lay awake from 4am last night, feeling sick with fear and anxiety, desperately hoping that the initial indications would somehow, miraculously be wrong. And I started planning where we could go. Australia or Canada? Too far from our families. BigBear lived in Germany for a while, and he has a degree in German (and Italian). But I speak NO German. I could limp along in schoolgirl French and probably improve quite rapidly. Or maybe The Netherlands. That's where BigBear's company has offices, and if they pull out of the UK, that's probably their European base. And the Dutch are quite understanding with people who don't speak their language well. Or various Scandinavian countries. Or Switzerland - we have friends there and some of them moved there with no German and almost no French. And then I thought about LittleBear, and I thought how worried I am about my introverted, emotionally-fragile little boy starting school, and I couldn't imagine the pain I would feel and the damage I might do to him taking him to a country where he knows no-one and speaks none of the language. I wept in the night as I thought of my baby's confusion and loneliness. I want to run away. I don't want to be part of a country that feels so alien to everything I believe in. I considered it after the last general election but was too gutless then. And I feel to gutless and scared now. Too scared of hurting my baby. Too scared of falling apart, of failing, of sinking back into a pit that I might not climb out of again.

This is what happens when I only have four hours sleep.

So please forgive me if I am over-tired and over-emotional about the outcome of this referendum. I hate what it seems to say about our country. I fear for the social, political and financial future. And I am grieving. It may not be the grief of bereavement or divorce. But it's grief nonetheless.

* And I'm angry even though I know that all 17,410,742 people who voted leave are not bigots and racists and idiots. It's just that an unpleasantly vocal proportion of them are. And, by the very definition of them being the vocal ones, those are the voices I heard. The voices that spouted the bullshit lies they'd been fed; the ones that believed every negative piece of crap ever written about the EU; the racists; the xenophobes; the people who point-blank refused to believe than an expert might actually know something. This is my rage, this is my fury, this is my release-valve to let out the steam so that I don't say this to the face of a perfectly normal, decent, honest Leave-voter who is no more racist or ignorant or stupid than me. If you voted Leave, I don't think you're racist or a moron. But I do think a lot of racists and morons voted Leave, and I'm angry with them.


  1. Next up in Let's Knock Down the World: will the racist bigots in my country elect an aspiring fascist can of cheese wiz as president????? (What the actual fuck, voters everywhere???)

    1. Disenfranchised, impoverished, manipulated, exploited, ignored and threatened people lash out against those they perceive to have wronged them. And when their only alternative is something gob-smackingly awful, you get something gob-smackingly awful.