I’m not really sure where this post is going today. My mind is pretty vacant, there’s a lot in there (I think) that is waiting to come out but at the moment I seem completely unable to process it. I’ve felt increasingly overwhelmed with everything recently, our lives have changed so much this year, there has been a lot of upheaval, ultimately becoming one of the most testing years to date which has really taken a toll on me. My body seems to have given up on me in the last day or so and so I’ve become even less productive. Yesterday was spent in bed and today will be either spent on the sofa or bed with laptop in hand. I’m rolling with it for now, I’m obviously in need of rest and if I let my body recoup maybe my mind will unscramble itself! I tried to switch off yesterday by reading a magazine and posting some style relating ideas, but to be honest it’s all seemed a bit trivial recently in the grand scheme of things, hence my absence.
The events of the past few weeks have also been playing heavily on my mind. The shootings in Paris hit me hard; not only is it my favourite city in the world but I have close friends who live there and we have spent many an evening in the places where the awful events took place. Of course, the horrific killing of innocent people in other places is every bit as awful, but I think many people were hit so heavily by the Paris shootings and bombing as it was so close to home. It could be have been any one of us going about our daily lives and enjoying a Friday night out, I love going to gigs and dining out, especially in Paris.
My friend headed home early that evening thankfully, but after spending 24 hours at home went to the scenes of the previous nights terror attacks. The photos he took made the situation even more real, but I understood his need to visit in order to process what had happened. I have been sickened by the reactions to the attacks by some people during the aftermath, targeting people and refugees just as innocent as those killed around the world because of their religion. I do not want to be political here, if I was we would be here all day, but the decision by the leaders of our country to bomb areas of Syria sits very uncomfortably with me. Do I think something needs to be done? Of course – Is bombing and potentially killing more innocent people the answer? I highly doubt it and I worry about the safety of the families still in Syria along with the safety of our armed forces who have to take part in these strikes. Amongst all the darkness however, stories have emerged of love, compassion, kindness and humanity. Stories of people comforting and protecting strangers, the love of parents reassuring children and the strength of people defying the terrorists by carrying on with life despite fear.
I’ve been at a cross roads for the past few months and have been reassessing what I’m doing with my life. The overwhelming feeling is that I need to make a difference somehow. I would rather leave a legacy that in some way I had made a difference in this ever increasingly frightening world, than be successful financially with all that trappings that go with it. I’m so uncomfortable with the fact that the world in which we are living is frequently making people lose their compassion. I met a Syrian lady a few months back who had come to the UK at the beginning of the conflict. She is a highly educated lecturer who spends a lot of time working with refugees and women in safe houses and runs a multi faith group at a university. Each week she also volunteers her time talking to and comforting people who are in conflict in the family court. She has experienced so much evil in her life and negativity since moving to the UK, yet she is not bitter and remains kind and compassionate, believing that we can be the light in what seems more than ever to be a dark and broken world. This is the type of person I want to be; we can all make a difference in a small way.
The small things, a cup of tea with an elderly neighbour, donating time or supplies to a homeless centre or food bank, all contribute to a more friendly, compassionate and accepting society. There are so many ways you can help the most vulnerable in your community, BBC Radio 1 and 1 Xtra have just launched their #1MillionHours volunteering campaign for 2016. For more information you can click here or search for charities or local projects where your time and help would be so much appreciated and where you could make a real difference to somebody’s life. I’m currently developing a project and will be releasing more information soon, but I would love to know your thoughts and about any projects or charities that you work with. By the way, well done if you made it to the end of this very long post! This is why I don’t sleep at night!