One of the books I’m reading at the moment is Revolution by Russell Brand. I was beginning to think Russell and I were separated at birth. However, on reading his book I see there are some fundamental differences between us. Chiefly I don’t believe in God, or a god figure. Secondly, I’m dubious about the benefits of sport in society and he’s a fan, of both. Well, not of society but of community. Whereas I’m deeply distrustful of the desire for belonging.

I suppose I should add I’ve never been an addict but that seems less important. Plus he got all the charm. Damn that man. I still love to hear him talk. Why? Because he’s saying something different that isn’t also hateful, but is provoking, intelligent, kindly, open, analytical, and creative, and we need that.

I think most people want something different now but the options seem limited to the overly spiritual (a lot of us find that really off-putting) the status quo, or the grotesque.

I don’t like these choices.

I navigated them for a while but in the end I left, like a gust of wind, all at once.

But if everyone who wants something different does this, then nothing changes. I guess that’s why change happens slow, until some cataclysmic event forces it. What we have, our system, is so resistant, so closed, so limited, by design of course, you’ll pay a lot to stay. The conflict becomes acute, along with the danger of losing yourself.

Stay and die a living death, or stay and conform, is that even a choice? Not for these people, not for me. Stay and rattle the cages, and break yourself against them.

This wasn’t the first time I left, I knew how to do it, I’d done it before.

I can remember wishing I belonged, and I can remember when it stopped, around the age of 11 or 12. I can remember forgetting all that for a while, at the highest point of being in the world, an illusion of belonging, of fit. And I remember waking up again.

I’ve worn different selves, like different dresses, worn for a while then discarded, some forgotten, some worn often. And behind them all there was me. We have to wear theses selves at different times in our lives, according to need or environs, at least try them on, but at some point, we have to get back to ourselves, if we want to be happy and free.

I can see now I was lucky. I learned very early, through various summers and storms, to stand alone. As Maya Angelou said…

‘You are only free when you realise you belong no place – you belong every place – no place at all. The price is high, the reward is great.’

I will not return. I’ll send words, messages, like stones rippling still waters. Piercing the surface, lodging themselves in the deep.

xx Jane


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