I think he needs some….attention…

Another day, another Sun writer spewing absolute nonsense.  Rod Liddle decided that today was an appropriate day to share his ridiculous opinion on Emma Watson’s speech at the UN addressing Gender Based Violence on university campuses.  I hesitate to give the idiot any further clickbait, but you can watch Emma’s inspiring speech here.  When I gave my 5 year old a very adapted precis of what this charming gentleman had said, his response, in true Godfather style, whilst punching a pillow, was “I think he needs some…attention.”  I’ve carefully considered this idea, and what follows is the attention he so richly deserves…

 

Dear Rod,

Bitter, are we?  I hesitate to point out the delightful correlation between a man arrested in 2005 for assaulting his 20 week pregnant wife dismissing the inspirational speech of a passionate, knowledgeable young woman on sexual assault as “whining, leftie, PC crap”, but surely you understand that you are far from the ideal spokesman on assault, right?  No?  Well, let’s take this piece of “journalism” of yours from the beginning, shall we?

I’m not sure, reading your writing, that you ever progressed further than year 5.  I’d like to give you the benefit of the doubt, but, just in case you were absent that day, let me share with you an important lesson from primary school.  Fiction is NOT REAL.  The woman you so cheerfully dismiss as “knowing nowt”, is named Emma Watson.  Funnily enough, she is unlikely to ever lecture the UN General Assembly on the rules of Quidditch, because Quidditch doesn’t exist.  Sorry to be the one to break it to you.

What part of “Goodwill Ambassador” do you not understand?  I’m assuming it’s the goodwill part.  I’m guessing that was in short supply when you cheated on your first wife.  Why she gets to talk at the UN?  No, it’s not because she’s standing in for Angelina Jolie.  Both, out of interest, are women who’ve accomplished far more in their lives than you will ever do.  It’s because she’s a compassionate and committed young woman and because a group of the most influential, intelligent people on the planet recognise her as such and want to hear what she has to say.  Not something I expect you’re all that used to.

On to the “whining, leftie, PC crap”.  I’m making an assumption here that you’ve not been a victim of sexual assault.  Please let me tell you from personal experience that it is really not a life event to cherish.  Please do read the words of this unbelievably brave young lady in her statement to Brock Tuuner in court. Do you still want to tell us that Emma was whining?  That her denunciation of campus sexual violence is “PC crap”?  You, sir, are an ignorant, knuckle dragging troll.

Let me tell you what sexual assault feels like.  It feels like the very foundations of your world have been destroyed.  Because someone has hurt you, irreparably hurt you, right at the very core of yourself.  It feels like nightmares and self hatred.  It feels like dulling the pain with whatever comes to hand – anything to make you not have to feel for a bit, even if what seems like your salvation is slowly killing you.

Here’s why those of us with at least two brain cells to rub together take what Emma says seriously.  Because this shit matters.  Because our daughters are being hurt and broken, and our sons are growing up with toxic ideas of what masculinity means.  Because this stuff keeps happening, again and again and again, and idiots like you dismiss it.  Because some of us believe that everyone has the right to education without fear of being attacked.  Because we’re human.

Mr Liddle, I genuinely feel sorry for you.  Your compassion metre seems to be broken, and I’m not sure even “alt-control-delete” will fix this issue.  In a minute, I will go and hug the two people in my life who’ve taught me most about the value of unconditional love – my husband and my son.  I’ll hug them, and I’ll be grateful for them – two people who understand that violence is never acceptable.  I’m gutted that the evidence so far doesn’t say the same about you.

 

 

 

 

 

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Who am I?

I know who I pretend to be,

the mask I present to the world.

But it isn’t me.

I know who I want to be.

Half buried dreams

Tantalising reminders of the way it might have been.

But that isn’t me either.

I know who I “should” be.

Perfect wife, perfect mother, perfect friend.

Whipping up a perfect meal whilst simultaneously solving the problems of the world.

But that definitely isn’t me.

I want to change the world, but sometimes changing the sheets is too much effort.

I know the lies that try to tell me who I am.

The whispers in the night that keep me awake.

Hiding under the covers and hoping that there’s still a light.

But I don’t think that’s me either.

So who am I?

I am loved.

With a fierce love.

An outrageous love.

A love that will not, cannot fail.

Not because of who I want to be.

Or who I think I should be.

But because He delights in who I am.

Tired.

Messy.

Broken

Fearful.

Barely trusting

Hating the dark but scared of the light.

His beauty shines in my brokenness.

In Him.

Held.

Complete.

Safe.

Adored.

 

 

 

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Walking on the sands…

 

I went for a walk across the sands today.
Dark grey clouds over the looming Welsh cliffs.
Vast empty beach pummelled by wild waves.
Perfect surroundings for my wild soul.
It used to be so easy.
“Trust the Lord”,  they said.
And I tried. I really did.
Did all the right things.
Said all the right words.
Sang all the right songs.
Prayed all the right prayers.
Hoping that somehow, the pieces would fit together
And I would be whole.
And yet, as I walked today
Buffeted by the wind,
I felt so broken.
Broken body, broken dreams. Broken heart.
You took a walk that day too.
Raw and bloody back bearing the weight of the rough wooden cross.
Surrendered to the cruel whims of those you had created.
The Lord of life,
Walking to death.
I thought about you in my walk.
Well, not you, not really.
The Jesus I used to believe in.
The God of easy answers.
A comfortable God.
Who looked just a little like me.
That God finally died. I buried him in the sand dunes.
Because I’m still broken. Because people die. Because shit still happens.
And that pale, anemic God has nothing to say.
The silence has made me angry.
Today, alone on the beach, I shouted
Anger and grief and fear and a kind of impotent longing
You shouted too.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
No Gentle Jesus there.
Physical, mental, spiritual agony.
“Save yourself, and us too”
It would have been such an neat and tidy answer.
But the sky darkened and the earth shook and the curtain tore in two.
No voice from heaven.
Just the sound of women weeping.
I buried god out there today.
But as I walked and wrestled, I saw a glimpse.
Lighthouse in the fog.
Snow drop in the winter
A tiny flickering candle
The first fragile dawning
Of hope.
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You say potato…

I say ‘fat’. God says ‘ you are fearfully and wonderfully made’.

I say ‘too much’. God says ‘just right’.

I say ‘chaotic, disorganised’. God says ‘ Made in my image’

I say ‘i’m lost’. God says ‘i’ve got plans for your good’

I say ‘broken’. God says ‘complete in me’

I say ‘i can’t do it.’. God says ‘fear not, for I am with you’.

I say ‘ you seem so distant’. God says ‘i tabernacle amongst you’.

I say ‘ the world is too dark’. God says ‘ the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it’.

I say ‘must try harder’. God says ‘i’ve already done it’.

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Not seeing the sparkle?

It’s Christmas in two days. Two days too many, in my four (and a half!) year olds opinion. This is the first time he’s really got the excitement thing, and boy, it’s wearing.

I don’t remember the last time I felt that way. I really don’t. I feel as if I should, as if all the sparkle and glitter should mean something more to me, but it doesn’t. I just don’t feel Christmas, and in a society where the Christmas season apparently starts in October, I feel decidedly the odd one out.

Why? So many. The dreams I had for the year, unfulfilled and likely to remain so. The babies we will hold in our hearts but not our arms this Christmas. The stresses and anxieties of every day life. The desperate worry for friends stuck in appalling situations. The ones who should be at our Christmas tables and instead will only be there as photos on the mantle. S many reasons.

But then I read the Christmas story again. There’s no sparkles. No glitter. No expensive presents, no ‘family time’. Just two frightened teenagers in a stable. Desperately hoping they were doing God’s will, desperately afraid it would break them into pieces.

That’s the Christmas I can deal with. God in human form, Emmanuel. The one who sees our brokenness and enters into it willingly. The word of God, who tabernacles amongst us. The one who becomes broken for me, so that somehow my brokenness is made whole.

Happy Christmas.

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Not enough words.

Do you know what I dread most right now? It’s leading brownies on Tuesday.

I have a small group on compassionate, bright, insane brownies. For the last year, they’ve been supporting guides and brownies in Syria. One of the girls has a relative living there, and this has meant a lot to them.  On top fundraising we have a link to a unit and they’ve loved supporting as much as they can.

They’re not silly girls. Well, mostly anyway. At least some of them will hear the news. And they’ll have to face the fact that the adults have failed. Again.

Because the truth about the people they’ve been supporting? Some will die. They’ll be at home or brownies or work or school, and an idiotic decision made by a government in a different continent will end their lives. And it won’t be just them. Who knows how many worlds will be ripped apart?

My Brownies get it. They love deeply and passionately. They see the world in black and white, not the million shades of grey we use when we’re justifying crap to ourselves. They get it, and they invest and they make relationships, and at some point, one of these people they have come to love is going to die.

My Brownies get it. They’re seven, and they get it. And on Tuesday, I’m going to have to try and explain by the grownups don’t. Pretty shamed to be one of them tonight.

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“Mummy, I just love being me!”

That was my 4 year old last night.  I may have slightly bewildered him with my tearful response, but I honestly couldn’t have been happier or more proud of him at that moment.

Later, I got to thinking.  I honestly cannot remember the last time I felt that way about myself.  Not that I hate myself – I’m just as great and just as flawed as most people in the universe – but that sheer joy of being who I was created to be?  It’s been a while, if it ever existed at all.

As a mum, I worry.  I worry that somewhere down the line, my kind, smart, beautiful boy is going to come across something that’s going to rob him of that joy.  Someone who will tell him he’s not a real boy, because boys don’t like cuddles and kisses and gentleness.  Someone who will make him feel inferior for his compassion, or who will pressure him to do things he doesn’t want to do, because that’s what the cool kids do.

Or maybe it won’t be one of his peers.  Maybe he’ll read the Sun one day, and decide that real masculinity is all about ogling boobs and watching football.  Or he’ll watch a movie and come away with the idea that he needs to sleep with any woman who’ll have him, just because that’s what men do.  Or he’ll read a magazine, and he’ll decide if he’s not tall with a six pack, he’s just not worthy.

I don’t know what the answer is.  I can tell my son until I’m blue in the face how wonderful he is, but I suspect at some point he’s going to stop believing me.  And all I can do is keep loving him until he begins to see the truth again.  It’s all any of us can do, but I find it so hard to live in a world where gender norms are so deeply ingrained that it’s inevitable that someone at some point will tell him he’s not enough.

I pray that when it does happen, he has the skills to recognise it for the lie it is.  I pray he’ll be able to recognise himself as a truly loved and cherished son of the King, full of worth and value.  But I also pray for a day in which I don’t have to worry.  That we recognise people for who they are, rather than what they do or how they spend their time.  When we truly believe that each person has value.

I am so glad that my son is happy being who he is.  I just hope and pray for all the sons and daughters, that we learn to be happy with them and rejoice in the infinitely complex and wonderful people they are.

 

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