Happy Very New Year — immigrant’s love letter #1
# now then
On the final day of Brexit and the final day of a twisted year 2020, I smile on the back a depression episode that knocked me off my feet, I sit collectedly after a rough mental health breakdown. Perhaps it was just a developmental hiccup, a lesson that didn’t go down that well, but I took it in the end. Guess it was one of those that change you for good.
On the final day of Brexit my lucky self is eating the yummiest cake (from a French patisserie) with a Lebanese-British friend and catching the final rays of the final sun in ‘our’ park. Isn’t the world full of wonder? Never mind the cold, never mind our poor days, right now life’s as rich as this cake! Adjectives for everyone, let the epithets rain! We’re soaking in the light, reflected from the scaly root tops of fine Sheffield houses sitting peacefully on a fine Sheffield hill. We both, quietly, admit that this place has a charm and that we will miss it, when we eventually move on.
On the final day of Brexit I drink Belgian beer kindly gifted to me by my Bulgarian-British friend and make notes for my very much European computer science study group. Lucky girl.
On the final day of Brexit I connect with my Sheffield friends, my extended-English-family-friends, my primary-Polish-actual-family and with all the folks on the streets. We are smiling with our eyes, from over our face coverings.
Chit-chat. We all want to know what we’re all doing for the New Years Eve, yet everyone remembers that we’re in a middle of the pandemic and we’re all staying home. Nobody wants to know how we feel about Brexit, have we all forgotten that it’s on tonight? Guess so. I know I did until the afternoon. Funny.
On the final day, I am ready to wave goodbye to this year. As I watch the day fade I am unusually calm and content.
I take note of everything, I breathe in the goodness and breathe out gratitude for all the gifts I’ve received in the 10 years of living in E̶n̶g̶l̶a̶n̶d̶ Yorkshire, and all the blessings of this year.
“I need to pack”, I whisper. I need to pack, as on the first day of the Very New Year I will resume my role as a volunteer at the local hospital. I wouldn’t be here if not for the EU — is it good or bad? It’s too late to worry about this, isn’t it?
On the final day I am still angry and discontent.
# hey, you
What happened? The world is ill, everything everywhere is polarised and we are all so, so lonely.
We are all choking on our opinions. We are choking, because the truths we consume are pre-processed like shit food from a can and so eventually our throats swell. You know, some people eat shit food, because they choose to. Some do, because that’s the only thing they can afford.
We all think we are right and we all think that we care, and so we try to stick to our tribe and shout at the others. We want to surround ourselves with like-minded people, but we’re all too far apart. So in the end, everyone is just yelling. I crave the comfort of like-minded people too, sure, but really… I’d rather understand what happened.
What happened to our home, our countries, our unions, our freedoms, our families, our rights, our matters, our collective matters? Hey, you, please help me understand. I’ve seen some banners, I’ve heard some news, I’ve read some papers, some posts too. I hear you (well, some of you), but still — I am confused. I want to understand. Can we just talk it over?
We were all wrong, we all made mistakes, don’t you see?
Do you think we can try again?
On the final day of 2020, in the part of the globe considered sort of East-Western, ish…, but Central-really — by those, who live here — on this final day I am in my thirties, typing away in a room in a shared house. I live here now, because I can’t afford to live on my own just yet, because a lot of us can’t, because of recession, because of everything. ”Not because of immigration, why did they even ever mention immigration?” (I think to myself, no-one else is listening).
I am angry. I am angry at those who govern the world and their heartless ways. I am angry at myself for thinking that it’s heartless and giving a damn. I am angry that no-one does anything about it, I am angry that I don’t. Although I do, every day, so do you. It’s tough, I feel you.
I am not left, and you are not right. Who is making us choose?
“Don’t we all find out in the end, that we are all just the same? There is no «them and us», why can’t they get it…”, I think to myself quietly, I almost didn’t hear it, no-one else is listening.
We all have loves, worries, ambitions, agendas, hopes, plans, favourite food and a drawer or a box with things that don’t really belong anywhere else. We all wish things were better, we all wish that life was how we want it to be.
We all think that we know it best, and so we want best, and so we vote for what we think the nearest thing is to the closest thing to some version of what we think is best. I get it, but -
Sun goes down, sun rises. Tonight we sleep, tomorrow we wake up.
I love you. Happy Very New Year.