“My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart concealing it will break.”
This week has been a good week.
Well, a better week.
It’s not been much different, in terms of what I’ve done, to the other weeks I’ve had since moving home 2 months ago.
2 months. Bloody hell.
I’ve volunteered, I’ve done some exercise, I’ve seen friends, I’ve sat on the sofa, I’ve napped.
But I feel…lighter.
I’ve been struggling to write for weeks. Particularly last week.
I have around 15 drafts of trying to write…something.
Trying to clear things from my head but not even knowing what needs cleared.
What needs shared (if anything).
What would help me feel better.
What I was even feeling.
What I am even feeling.
I know there’s sadness. I accept that. Missing people. Guilt. Tiredness. Frustration. Happier memories, too, of course. The boys flicker through my head all the time. I expected all of this.
But there was something else, something hindering me, consuming me as I carried on with everyday life.
And struggled to write, my biggest coping mechanism in Calais by far.
It came to me, whilst battling my internal monologue before bed as always.
Although even that’s calmed down.
Sheer. Unbridled. Anger.
Anger at the world. Anger as I scroll through social media, looking for things to make me more angry. Anger at people asking me about Calais, asking the wrong questions. Anger at myself, for not being able to get my head together. Anger, clearly, at not being able to write about my anger, because I didn’t know what it was.
Anger, unharnessed, raging like a wildfire.
I’m not sure what made it finally click.
Or indeed how long I’ve been this angry for.
Has it been noticeable? Am I that good at covering things up?
Maybe it’s manifested itself in different ways.
That deep intake of breath when someone asks “so how was Calais?” Anger?
My 15 drafts of trying to clear my head. If I piece them together, I can see a thread, trying to work it out.
The last few come close. I talk about Mawda, the 2 year old girl shot dead by the Belgian police. Anger at that whole devastating situation. Anger that nobody cared.
Anger at whether I should be writing at all. What I should be writing. What I should be sharing. Whether people deserve to read my memories at all. How to explain what I’m up to now.
Wasted, wasted energy.
And yet, oddly, realising that I’m angry has made me less angry.
I’m no longer angry at myself for not knowing how I’m feeling.
And that is a huge relief.
A weight off the shoulders which already bear the weight of the world right now.
Every news story, every status from a fellow volunteer, every word from the mouth of someone’s life destroyed by the system.
So I can now channel the anger. Fuel the tank.
And turn off the news, spend less time scrolling, scrolling, scrolling…
…and more time resting;
More energy spent on what I want to do in Glasgow;
More focusing on the future of the Info Bus;
And more writing.
Right now, I’m volunteering with Scottish Detainee Visitors, Glasgow Night Shelter for destitute asylum seekers, and the Unity Centre.
SDV is just two evenings a month; the others are once a week.
After Calais, that’s a holiday.
(Yes, I’ve been having fun too).
(Yes, yes, and resting).
It’s been an interesting 2 months.
I needed away from the constant feeling of being on edge, from the relentless police brutality, from the lack of sleep in a tiny camp bed in a mouldy cupboard. It’s a privilege to leave Calais and I’ve dealt with that every time I’ve crossed that oppressive border. The everlasting awareness that my friends are still there, dealing with that and worse every single day. You can add that to the anger list.
I’m sure I’ll be back at some point.
But I’ve never needed away from the work. Because it’s not work. It’s just something we should do naturally. Being a friendly face, listening, talking, taking the time to make sure a fellow human is ok and doing what I can to help them if they’re not. Or at least try. Raising awareness and fighting the ineptitudes of the system where I can. So whether I work in this field or volunteer or do something completely different with my life over time, this work will continue on. Because it has to. And I enjoy it, too.