A few years ago now, for obvious reasons, I learned about privelege.
White privelege, male privelege, hetero privelege – the list goes on.
I’m embarrassed to say I never realised, or knew, about this until it was pointed out.
I’m embarassed to live in a world where this exists, and to be honest, let’s all try and make the change that means we put a stop to privelege.
It’s not that anyone should not enjoy the apparent benefits – it’s that those who don’t shouldn’t not.
If that makes sense.
In amongst all of this, I realised that, for all my privelege, I am disadvantaged to – and there’s not much out there about this.
Sanity privelege exists, it’s out there – part of life.
So, with lived experience of a chronic mental health issue, it got me thinking.
And I wrote the following poem.
I hope you understand, and get something from this.
I have privilege; this had to be pointed out to me;
I don’t like it – I wish it wasn’t there.
We walk the Earth as one,
all of us should have equitable access, opportunity –
voice, security – shelter, food:
the sun rises, the sun sets;
there should – and what should happen,
and what does happen,
are two different things –
there should be no difference:
the wind blows, the rain falls –
weather scurries across the whole of the Earth;
there is difference –
and for all my privilege –
for happenstance that here I am –
I live with disadvantage:
Non-visible, taboo, unspoken.
Last time you had a good night out,
when you went to that party,
when you last went raving:
was it insane –
was someone mad to do all those shots,
was is crazy to bump into them,
was there some nutter losing it on the floor,
was there some psycho snorting something?
I bet there wasn’t.
I bet you enjoyed yourself,
I be everyone had fun –
I bet you, no one actually suffered psychosis.
Psychosis, insanity – actual madness:
like the crazies, the with the screaming heebie jeebies –
isn’t fun; it is terrifying.
We’ve stopped using words associate with race,
Sexuality and gender, physical and mental disability –
But we still refer to psychosis, to madness,
In common parlance, like it doesn’t matter.
The last time a news reader told the nation someone had been stabbed –
that recurring item,
was the perpetrator thought to suffer from mental ill health?
Base on hearsay,
based on what a neighbour said,
based on what someone from the pub said.
Get this – crazy people walk amongst you –
unseen, unheard – their whole selves taboo.
Stigma and suspicion,
shame and terror –
the tools of repression.
We’ve come an awfully long way:
everyone deserves to be treated appropriately,
with the right care, attention and respect:
people in crisis are locked up by the police –
they’re restrained, injected, subdued – suppressed.
Their long term meds have life long side effects.
You can’t tell your neighbour,
or your nieces, or your nephews.
Your family don’t’ mention it.
Work think you’re less able.
Everyone wonders if it’ll happen again.
Male, white, hetero – privilege is all around us;
let us not neglect anyone,
let us bring everyone into the fold,
challenge ourselves and learn from each other.
The world is a very rich place,
Filled with diverse wonders –
Madness is one of these.