I’ve woken up today with such a weight. A hundred thousand lives lost to COVID. 100,00 so far. That’s a hundred thousand funerals. That’s a hundred thousand people who died without family or friends by their side. They died surrounded by amazing healthcare professionals, in all blue; their faces and skin covered. We can’t fathom the magnitude of this grief, but it’s a weight that the world is bearing right now.
The government wants us to look sideways. Blame each other for not following the guidelines. Instead of looking at them. When we do look at them they cry their crocodile tears, as they break their own rules, pack care homes, line their friend’s pockets, crush the NHS.
Grief makes up part of our atmosphere now. It’s the cloud we can’t see but can feel. My Nan would say ‘oh it feels close’ just before a thunderstorm. We’re living in a thunderstorm whilst it still being suffocatingly close; this thunderstorm isn’t breaking any tension. This rolling thunder just isn’t stopping. Every day we log online and hear of another 1,000+ deaths.
You know at the end of a film, when the wrongs are righted and the rain comes. The rain comes to cleanse what was done, ready to start a fresh. This isn’t a film. When we step outside into the world after this destruction how do we rebuild? Rebuild from the lives lost, rebuild from the economic destruction, rebuild from the rubble of what once was.
I feel so much anger right now for the Facebook and Twitter scientists. The cretins that spread their lies and disinformation on a wide scale platform; perpetuating the conspiracy theories that are costing lives. Conspiracy theories make uneducated people feel intelligent. That’s the only way I can describe it. They have found their evidence and have come to their own conclusion. They feel they are critical thinkers, outside of the mould. Forward thinkers. Well, mate, you’re fucking not. You’re a fucking tool.
If I try and bring some compassion into this – not that I feel that they deserve it (yet I do believe everyone is doing the best they can with what they have). Do they also feel as lost as the rest of us, but refuse to admit it to protect themselves? How can you see everything and still not believe it. How?! Yet they do believe what they see. They believe the false evidence, circulating online, that they see. One article from an unknown publication says ‘covid is a hoax’ and they will run with it. Ignoring the reams of scientific knowledge and studies that state otherwise.
They want it to be a hoax. In fairness, we all do. However it’s not. It’s not a fucking hoax, and now 100,000+ lives have been lost in the UK alone.
When the world opens up again and we start to meet and mix with other people again, how normal is it going to be to hear: ‘I lost my ___ to COVID.’ In the club smoking area. At a festival. On a date. In the supermarket. At football practice. We see it all the time online and on TV . However, the screen gives us a degree of separation. It is like a film. We aren’t living amongst each other; we’re watching each other through screens. Many of us have had to say goodbye to loved ones through screens. I had to attend my Nan’s funeral through a screen.
This feels very real right now, but how is it going to feel once we all come back together? What provisions are going to be in place to support this ‘New Normal’ mark 2? When we finally look into each other’s faces and see the grief and destruction we’ve all endured over the last year.
I don’t believe the government has any fucking concern or provisions for this outpouring, now, or once the pandemic is over. There needs to be a great deal of funding put into mental health support. As soon as possible. The struggling isn’t going to be over when the pandemic is. We are already years behind in mental health funding and support in this country.
Therapy is an expensive game. I know. This makes it unattainable for so many people. To self refer on the NHS puts you on a 12 week waiting list. At least. People need help now and need is only going to increase. Talking about mental health is brilliant. I am here for it. I do it, day in and day out. Yet talking only takes us so far, we need action. People need to know that they can get a doctor as easily for their mental health as they do for an upset stomach, or broken arm. Imagine if your GP surgery also had a specific mental health GP you could make an appointment with? Someone to talk to who could refer you to the relevant specialist, talk through medications, introduce you to support groups.
To do this we need a government that will properly fund the NHS. We live in a country where a war veteran walked 100 lengths of his garden to raise money for our health service. What he did is amazing. Yet he shouldn’t fucking HAVE HAD TO. Whilst you’re applauding Captain Sir Thomas Moore, whilst you’re on your doorstep clapping for the NHS open your eyes and realise how much the government loves that these actions are removing us from forcing those in power to take accountability for their underfunding of our public healthcare system. This has directly affected the handling of the pandemic and cost so many lives. It will continue, and lives will continue to be lost if we don’t start demanding change.
We are stuck with this shite government for another 4 years. So we can’t vote them out yet. I don’t even believe we have a suitable opposition right now, to be honest. However we need to start making noise as to who we want as opposition. We want a government that will hold the NHS as a main priority. Not just a political talking point. Which it was for Brexit – what a lie that was. We, the people, have the power for change but we cannot sit latently by and expect others to do it for us. We start with petitions, emails to our MPs, marches. Lord knows this current government has done enough u-turns in the past. So before we can vote them out, let’s get a few more u-turns out of the see-you-next-tuesdays.
Inaction is no longer an option. Do it for the nurses. Do it for the doctors. Do it for the 100,000. Hell, do it for yourself.
I want to take this time to ask what you’re doing tomorrow evening? Staying home? Excellent.
Arts for Essential Workers are bringing you another fantastic show:
Each month we bring you an hour of jam-packed theatre and music, with original writing & performances by our cast. This month’s show is themed on mental health with a difference: a positive psychology themed take on the subject.
Get a taste of our shows by clicking here to see our last month’s show!
1. Arts For Essential Workers (afew) is a not for profit organisation that aims to make high quality performance art accessible and relevant to essential workers in recognition of their contribution to society.
2. Tickets are pay what you can afford and the event is open to essential workers, their families, and members of the public, noting that this is an online event. Two thirds of ticket revenue will be donated to our chosen charity for the month, which for December is the mental health charity MIND. The remaining third is donated to Arts For Essential Workers and allows us to continue with our mission of performance art for a purpose: creating conversation between the arts and essential workers.
3. Here’s what to expect on the night:
-7.15pm – Virtual doors open.
-8.30pm to 8.30pm – Live theatre, music, and musical theatre performances from our professional artists in a show Directed by our artistic director, Katie Coull
Cast: to be announced.
– We wil host a short interactive Q&A story sharing panel where audience and performers alike are encouraged to share how the performance impacted them.
4. Voluntary donations help us fund our performances, as we believe in making our art on a virtual platform widely accessible. We are crowdfunding for our not-for-profit company, that will allow us to continue our efforts in months to come. Click here to donate
2/3rds of each ticket sale and all our donations go to our charity of the month.
The afew team
Arts For Essential Workers CIC