Lasts and Firsts

It’s been nearly a month since I’ve posted anything. Sorry about that. I’ve been a little busy! Lots of freelance work, a little volunteering but most of all I was getting ready to leave my job.

After nearly 4 years at my job, I took redundancy and decided it was high time to try something new. I was sad to go, but excited for the next big adventure. Nervous, but excited. So over the last few weeks, I spent a lot of time focusing on the lasts. The last time I’m going to run a session for Go Think Big. The last time I was going to go to get curried goat, rice and peas for lunch from my regular place. The last time I’d be able to walk 10 steps from my building to my favourite bar. The last time I’d sit and have lunch with my team in the middle of work. The last time I’d travel up to Leicester to the head office. The last time I’d be able to make ridiculous jokes and hear the familiar voices and groans. The last time I’d lock up the office.

In a way it was really sad to go. But I wasn’t upset. It was a strange sensation. I was leaving people I loved working with, friends and colleagues I respected but I was fine. For me, this time, I switched very quickly from focusing on my “Lasts” to going back to “Firsts”. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried new things since I started this job but they’ve been things that I’ve done extra. My job was a constant. Now, I’m going to have to try to establish a new constant in my life at my new job. It’s excited and nerve-wracking at the same time.

But now, I get to focus fully on the exciting firsts again. My first day (which is tomorrow, scary). My first paycheck. My first friend at the new job. My first lunch. My first work drinks (please please please let there be work drinks). My first opportunity to prove myself. My first big mistake. My first meeting. My first young person to support. My first experience working in International Development. My first joke in the new office (this one will be crucial to establish myself I think.).

Don’t get me wrong, most of these Firsts are going to be exciting, but f*** me, it’s also kind of terrifying. After years of new people coming into a place where I’m comfortable, it’s my turn to be the new guy. Times like these, while positive, can really trigger a person’s anxiety. It can really make people feel awful, awkward and scared to be themselves. There’s a high chance that this’ll happen to me too. I fully expect it to. So I’m going to prepare myself. I’m bringing things that I know will calm me down during the day. Music and noise cancelling headphones are first, of course. I’m going to bring a book. Maybe even bring my camera and my new macro lens. It’s going to be an amazing chance for me to be brave, grow and learn to beat my anxiety.

Wish me luck.

A

P.S. Thank you to all the people that I’ve worked with over the last 4 years, whether that was at the NYA, Go Think Big, the old Think Big programme, and all the amazing friends I’ve made through partners, other charities, events etc.

Selflessness Revisited

So I had a really interesting day recently. I went to Creative Collisions. 9 of the biggest youth charities in the UK hosted a big ol’ conference. Lots of workshops and talks and panel discussions etc. which were great. No matter how useful (or not useful) the conference is for co-working and cross charity partnerships is one thing I gained from that day was a renewed sense that the world hasn’t completely gone to shit.

The people who attended the conference were fantastic. The young people in attendance were intelligent, active citizens who are working hard to deal with the hand that life (and previous generations) has dealt us. The youth workers, teachers, support workers who attended genuinely care about the future generations.

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In a time where racism is rampant, Islamophobia is intertwined in society, women still get treated like shit, politicians are liars, crooks, sex offenders and the internet is it’s usual double edged sword, it’s really important to remind yourself that there are still people out there fighting the good fight. Educating people. Spreading love, kindness and doing things for others who may not be able to do it themselves. Selflessness still exists. Sometimes you have to really search for signs of selflessness but it’s out there.

If you can’t find even the slightest trace of selflessness in the world, what are you waiting for? Get out there. Be the selfless one. We can all talk about how the world is going to shit and how horrible people are and how kindness doesn’t exist any more. But unless we get up off our arses and do something about it, we’re part of the problem.

Be kind, love, get shit done.

If you’re struggling to think of ways to do something selfless or to take action in any way, check out these videos by my beautiful friends Carl and Uzma who are putting together 60 second social actions. They’re amazing, hilarious and ridiculously kind. Make sure to subscribe to their channel and spread a little love.

A

“Not Really Such Thing As Racism, Just Opinion”

I can’t believe I’m saying this but “Not really such a thing as racism, just opinion” is a thing that an actual human being said on my Facebook. Racism doesn’t exist apparently. We’re all being super sensitive, we’re weak minded and we’re pathetic people for bitching and moaning about being treated differently.

I made a couple of posts recently about how certain races are represented in mainstream media on my Facebook and one on my blog here. I am by no means an expert on race. All I know is that it’s pretty obvious when people are being belittled, ridiculed and made to look like lesser human beings. Sometimes it’s outright disrespect. Other times it’s veiled as a political piece. The shitstorm on my personal Facebook started when I posted about how angry I was about this particular piece of news racist bullshit. The same person who denied that racism exists said that just after having said “I was hoping you were Asian and Black so that we would have two reasons to discriminate against you”.

If you really want to watch it, I’ll oblige. I warn you though. It’s garbage. It’s not news.

All you have to do is look at the comments on the video to see that it’s offended people but there are somehow also a shit ton of people who for some reason feel the need to defend this shit. If the people this is about are offended, take a fucking hint. It’s fucking disgusting.

Of course, somehow racists found their way to my Facebook post (even though I don’t know any of them) and started mouthing off that I was being overly sensitive and a whiny, weak-minded bitch. Apparently, we’d all be better off if we’d (people of colour [POC]) stop being such pathetic excuses for human beings. POC have spent hundreds of years being raped, murdered and having their land, resources and cultures stolen and are STILL having to prove themselves to not be inferior. This isn’t just about Chinese people either, Black people across the world, Latinx people, Hispanic people, people from the Middle East, East Asians, the native people of countries like America and Australia. This kind of shit happens to all of us and it’s not okay. We won’t be the quiet subservient POC that you expect us to be.

My original post was this:

Karate is Japanese, they went to a martial arts centre with a south Korean flag (amongst others, but not Chinese), Mr Miyagi isn’t Chinese, this American dude is a piece of shit. Respect to the last guy. He knew what was going on. Fox news and Watters/Oreilly are saying it was all in good fun. How about I take the piss out of American stereotypes. They’re fat, white, racist scumbags who murder and incarcerate thousands of black people every year and think they’re better than everyone else. Not nice is it? Fuck it, it’s all in good fun.

There are tons of other things I could list about that video that are very obviously racist. I won’t bother though. We’d be here for days. After all the comments on Facebook from random ALL WHITE Americans, my friends and I tried to inform them with logic, facts, statistics and literal dictionary definitions and some times even tried to appeal to their sense of empathy. Well played, Alex. Empathy? These people? No chance. They also told me words don’t matter. Walk up to a Black person and call them the N word. See if it matters then. People get brave on the internet, in person, I highly doubt they’d be so willing to say the kind of shit they said to us last night.

However, I do want to say thank you to all of my friends, of all races and ethnicities, who argued back with these random racists, who have shown support on my statuses following the incident, and have sent me messages, texts, calls etc. to make sure that I’m not too upset and have sent me real message of support. POC can speak for themselves but my friends and allies from white communities help so much by helping to tackle ignorance and hatred in their communities. I appreciate you all and I’m proud to know you all.

One friend asked me if I’m on some sort of racist watchlist. I have no idea if I am, but if my speaking up about race is getting me on racist watchlists, I must be doing something right eh?

Racism is real and is a serious problem that is literally killing POC. Don’t forget it, don’t let it happen, don’t stay quiet.

A

P.S. I fully expect some racists to come on here and comment and bitch and moan too. You will be blocked, your comments deleted and your existence forgotten.