Ahmaud Arbery and How ‘Human’ Is An Action Word

I’ve been talking about this a lot over on my Instagram, but I’d thought I’d share it here too as important is an understatement.

I wrote this post in response to following the story of Ahmaud Arbery – a young black man followed, shot and killed by a white ex policeman and his son, both armed, when Ahmaud was out for a jog in his Georgia neighbourhood in February. They followed him as they believed he looked like the suspect of a recent burglary. His killers were only arrested yesterday after a video of the shooting surfaced and were charged today.

The world is hurting so much right now, in more ways than one, but what confuses me is that somehow we’re all human enough to be brought to our knees by a virus that’s only a few months old and yet not human enough to recognise that our society is filled with the biggest killer of all, one that’s been around since the beginning of time – inequality and division. The news is filled with numbers and statistics of those dying from Covid 19 and we’re all taking steps to rid our world of it, we wash our hands and stand two metres apart, but still we let injustice and inequality run rampant throughout society, wreaking destruction and pain, and consequently anger and division. And when I say society, I mean the society you and I both live in for our entire lifetimes on earth, the society we shape with the actions we take every single day.

To me, human is a verb not a noun. It requires action, it requires love, it requires listening, it requires change, it requires compromise, it requires openness, it requires acceptance, it requires honesty and it requires conversation.

And the worse thing is that I’ll look back on this and I’ll tell myself that I should be more positive and that my ramblings won’t solve anything, but no. Some things need to be said and not just reframed in a more lighthearted and digestible way. We don’t get to switch on and off, this is reality and it doesn’t go away just because we want it to. This is how I’m feeling right now. I’m finding the world I live in and the world I’m part of frustrating and painful and I can’t even begin to imagine how much more so it is for those directly affected by inequality and injustice. And though I am proud of many elements of society, there are huge chunks that I am deeply ashamed of.

I’m just so tired of living life like when one day ends we have to wake up and start fighting for the next one to be a good one. I know I’m not the only person who feels this way. I wanna be a bridge, but bridges get trodden all over and it’s not long before your back starts to hurt. So tired of someone’s humanity being the irony in the punchline of someone else’s thoughtless joke. So tired of not understanding enough and so tired of understanding too much. So tired of humans not being human. So tired of history repeating itself and cycles that seemingly can’t be broken.

At the end of the day, how hard is it to love and respect each other? How hard is it to care about the life of someone compiled of the same molecules and atoms as you are just in a slightly different arrangement? Someone who stares back at you with the same eyes you look out through? Someone with a heart and a soul like yours? How much evidence and statistics do you need to start acting like a human, bearing in mind that human is a verb, taught to children in schools as an action word? How many more people have to suffer injustices before we do anything about it?

I’m not saying these things are simple. Life is complicated, people are complex, but love is not. Love is a very basic choice and anyone who ever made any difference understood that. If we let our love for our fellow human beings guide our actions, and yes we absolutely have to take action, we can rarely go wrong. Love leads to equality. Division leads to more division. Aim for unity in everything you do.

Dry Your Tears, We’ll Make It Better Together

Story time peeps. 

So the other day I did an Instagram takeover for an organisation empowering young people to create change in their local neighbourhoods and play a role in building community. I’d never done a takeover before and I was kinda a tiny bit nervous, but at the same time really excited to collaborate and get my message out there. 

In the days beforehand, I put together such a detailed plan, brainstormed, wrote out all the little videos that I was going to make, the main issues and points I wanted to address. Then the day came and the time zones got mixed up, it was pouring with rain, my phone kept dying and the signal was rubbish because of the weather- all my carefully laid plans were ruined. I spent most of the day in stressed-out, frustrated, messy tears not just because of this situation but because of a million and one things going on in my life that reared up and overwhelmed me when I was feeling vulnerable. 

However, I dried my tears, splashed my face with cold water and made an upbeat video outlining all the powerful, well orchestrated points I’d planned out, I examined my eyes in the mirror to make sure they weren’t too puffy and recorded a message talking about our project, the motivation behind it and what a positive impact it was having. I smiled and I laughed and I made jokes and then I turned the camera off and cried a bit more until my mum made me a cup of tea and forced me to eat a dark chocolate kit kat (which helped. a lot) 

When we look at social media, we see exactly what the person who put that content out there wanted us to see. The content they carefully selected and edited, often cutting out all the ‘not so pleasant bits’. The whole “social media is a highlight reel blah blah blah” thing is so familiar that it almost loses its meaning, but take a minute to really think about that because it’s so so true. 

My point is, we need to start creating more spaces in society, and on social media too, where it’s perfectly acceptable to be vulnerable and real and raw and unedited and show your emotions, whether that’s anger, joy, sadness, frustration or excitement, and know that people will support you. 

Thanks for these Pinterest :))

No one ever achieved anything amazing without struggling A LOT so don’t be ashamed to say you had a bad day. We can’t expect turning the world upside down to be easy. Damn, we can’t even expect everyday life to be easy. Life is full of challenges that we will only overcome if we work together and support one another. 

Social media can be such a positive resource, but it can also pit us against each other in a constant and toxic game of comparison. We can’t fall into that trap. Instead, let’s use our platforms to build each other up and support each other. 

That’s why I wanted to share my story about the takeover here today. If I hadn’t, you’d have assumed it went smoothly and that it was completely stress free and I knew exactly what I was doing. I can imagine that if you’d spent your day crying, watching my takeover would make you feel even more alone. Well, guess what, honey? I cried all day too, wipe your tears, let’s talk about this and make it better together. 

Love to you all 💪 Talk to me about your experiences of this in the comments xx