Sunday, 6 November 2011

Kudos to Susan Boyle..

.. She seems to have got herself sorted.

I remember crying me eyes out at her audition, and following her story with mixed feelings.

I was truly worried for her - she seemed such a fragile person, vulnerable and so exposed. People jumped at the chance to take the piss out of her obvious difficulties in behaving appropriately in the limelight, or her total lack of self awareness, or her less than attractive appearance, or her mental weaknesses and temperament.

She was such an easy target, but perhaps that worked both positively and negatively for her. On the one hand, she was ripped apart without mercy by comedians and commentators, who took advantage of the fact that people really didn't 'get' her and were therefore very ready to laugh at her rather than with. On the other hand, that meant she was always in the news and her name was everywhere. It made her "fame" implode, really, so that whatever you thought about her, you certainly knew her name.

Susan was just strange enough to be held up for ridicule, but not so obviously disabled that it would be seen as inappropriate. But should it have been? Would people have been so ready to take the piss if she had been blind, like Andrea Botecelli? or if she had a more visible problem, like having Downs Syndrome? The trouble with Susan was that her difficulties, though absolutely obvious, weren't pinned down to anything that people would feel meant you shouldn't take the piss. So despite it being really obvious that she had learning difficulties and some odd behaviours, and that she struggled with her mental wellbeing, she came in for some horrendous media bullying.

Hearing more about her life just made alarm bells ring even louder. All her life she had been bullied. She had struggled with friendships and relationships, she had relied on and been supported by her parents, and therefore was completely at sea when they were no longer there. Was our hunger for reality TV now going to chew her up and leave her to perish?

Well, it seems not, and I am really heartened by that. I'm heartened that, for whatever reason, people all over the world chose to take her onboard despite all the name calling. They decided to buy her records. They decided to hold her up as a symbol of their dreams. They decided to support her regardless of her weirdness, because that's what they would want people to do for them. And it seems there were bloody loads of people who took this "do as you would be done by" attitude. Loads and Loads of people who were themselves challenged in some borderline way that made them the butt of easy jokes, targets for bullying, vulnerable to the harshness of critics who jump on the slightest imperfections. Loads and loads of people who saw something in Susan and the reactions she got and decided it wasn't fair, and it wasn't how they would behave.

That's got to be a hopeful thing in this day and age. That people will make someone like Susan Boyle their superstar - spend their money on her records instead of some of the other cynical money grabbing pop products on the market.

But I still had niggles - for all that fame, pressure and change, what was SHE getting out of it. From what I'd read and seen, she didn't give a toss for the money. Watching the documentary tonight about how she was coping with the changes, I got a better idea. Seems that the biggest thing she is getting is company. Knowing that there are people out there - Loads and Loads of them as I said earlier - who actually don't think she's a bit weird, who don't see her as ugly, odd, old, fat, thick, different, but instead see her as JUST LIKE THEM!! So, like she said on the doc, the biggest thing she has now, in spades, is kinship. To feel that she's the same, not different. To no longer feel lonely.

Anyway, screw the money she has made, the fact that people around her have made it possible for her to perform, make records, travel, make appearances etc with as little stress and worry for her as possible is a good thing. The fact that its still doable to be a megastar despite having issues like those that have held you back for so long, that is a good good thing.

So, good on you Susan. Here's to you, and those around you supporting and enabling. And here's to a world that buys your records and says "Yes you can" to your dreams. I like it.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Letter to my mum.

Dear mum

Eee, I can't believe its been two years. Sometimes seems like yesterday I was up at yours, showing you that little notebook PC for looking at photos on. I know this letter is on the internet, but we were talking about getting on the internet last time i saw you, so I figured you'd have found a way to check things out down here by now. Unless all this afterlife stuff is bullshit, in which case its a mute point. Sorry about saying bullshit. Anyway, I like to think you are always on facebook these days, checking out our gossip and catching up...

I've done lots on the house recently - you'd not recognise the place! Had the hall stairs and landing carpets done, new kitchen and kitchen floor, new bathroom floor and ceiling, new bedroom. The bit you probably didn't like was me cutting down all my lovely trees and bushes and having it all gravelled over. Still, it does look neater now, and you can see in through the windows if you are ever... in the area. :)

Rob's out of work at the mo, which is a bit sh.. rubbish. Hopefully it won't be for too much longer, but things are tough for lots of folk at the mo, and in the grand scheme of things, we are doing OK. Still, keep your eyes peeled for us, and if you do have any sway, fate wise, then feel free to sway things our way.

Sally is growing up fast. Even has a boyfriend. He's called Dave but we call him goat boy. Still doing amazing at school, and I'm just so damned proud of her. Can't believe how bloody sensible she is really - I reckon you are influencing her from afar!! She's at North Chadd still, but in sixth form doing Art, History, Media and some others. She's certainly loving the Art - definately making you and me very proud there. :) The work she did for her GCSE's was amazing - she got 9 by the way, 7 A's a B and a C, miles better than I did. But you probably knew that already :) Keep an eye on her, won't you...

Me, I'm doing alright. Keeping going, trying to get things that bother me sorted out, and keeping my head above water for the most part. Things do seem to be a bit less of a drama these days, although I still have huge black days when I lose perspective a little bit. They're fewer though, and I feel like I'm generally less scared of myself these days.

Oooh me and Degs are going on a cruise at Easter - from New Orleans. It's going round the western Caribbean - Mexico, Camen Islands, Jamaica - Its keeping me going through the tough bits at the mo.

Miss you. At the most stupid times as well, like at half term. I taught myself how to tie this special knot that is used in the latest bracelet craze - Shambala bracelets. Found myself thinking lots about you, your crafty ways. All those ponchoes and bedsocks and stuff came flooding in - I even found that crochetted bikini thing you made me. Bet you are knitting away wherever you are. I made lots of lovely bracelets and I could almost hear you approving from afar.

Love you, mum. Never said it enough, but then nobody ever does really. But I do. Still. And always will.

Take care,

Debs xx