We visited a very dear friend today. We cooked Mexican food and took it to her home; drove her out to a country open mic night; and then delivered her home safely. It was a really great day. Our friend is in her early sixties and is barely mobile due to severe arthritis and other medical factors. She lives in an out of town bungalow that has a ridiculously steep drive so, without the help of others, she’s effectively housebound. She’s also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and as a result, spent thirty years of her life without stepping foot out of her house. 

Trapped.

A prisoner in her own home because of the actions of other human beings.

But she’s more than those circumstances. She’s so much greater than her past experiences. She’s full of life, humour, joy, and laughter. After her thirty years of solitary confinement, she emerged like the proverbial Phoenix from the ashes of her childhood, and she qualified as a counsellor. Over the past fourteen years, she’s helped countless other women deal with their own abuse and come out the other side, healthy and determined.

But the hits keep on coming…

She had a rough month on top of the usual, because a young member of her family had been attacked in a restroom. He was out celebrating news of a baby on the way (his first), and it was fair to say, he’d had a few too many. He went to the restroom, and it was there that six “men” set on him. Two of them did most of the beating – they smashed his head against the tiled floor, they kicked him until and after he was unconscious, and one of them bit the kid’s lower lip off – completely. In the UK, some clubs have an “aftershave man” in the restroom, whose job it is to tidy the place and spritz the patrons. He did clear up – including throwing away the kid’s lip, so it couldn’t be saved. 

Human beings.

My writing isn’t fluffy easy reading. My beautiful wife-to-be has a pertinent saying that’s applicable here: “It’s not all rainbows and unicorns, baby.” Neither is life. Why do I write about the darker side of human nature? Because I want to believe our capacity for good is stronger, and by reminding us all of the inhuman things we’re capable of, I want to encourage people to seek that light (not in a religious way) and seize it with both hands. 

Then spread it.

I want you to be disgusted by the evil things my bad gals do. I want you to be challenged to “know better” and be better human beings. This world can be a dark and dangerous place, but it’s also full of love and compassion, empathy and friendship, strength and spirit (just like that of the friend I talked about earlier). As my favourite Christmas movie propounds – “Love is all around us.” 

I believe it’s stronger than hate. I have to, or what would be the point to any of this?

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