A stranger walks past, head low, face seemingly indifferent as you pass by — actually, the expression on their face will depend on how much coffee you have consumed, how you feel about the current economic climate, where you grew-up, your blood-pressure and genetic make-up, who you hang around with, and a million other variables of this gigantic science-experiment we like to call life — and you think What the hell’s wrong with them? You’re feeling happy for whatever reason — or maybe not happy, maybe just content, that feeling where there is no wind or heat, where you’re gliding along in neutral — and, much as you know how it feels to be having a bad day, right now everything seems good. Nothing can touch you, and even if it could, you wouldn’t really care. Things just seem to be going right for you. In this moment you’re in your own little world and that stranger? he just seems to be making such a big deal out of things. Come on, you think, it really isn’t that bad.
Or it’s a businessman on his phone, or an angry man in a wheelchair who has a grudge against pedestrians and seems to hate anyone with legs. We’re all doing it, and, I suppose on some deep subconscious level, it’s essential to our survival in the way we view the world and our place in it, a cruel game of me versus you versus us: passing judgement on others every single day of our lives, and thinking that we know something about what they’re going through from the very little that we see.
But we don’t, and sometimes it’s good to be reminded of that fact.
Our closest friends have secrets, lies, things they’d rather not discuss with anyone else, things which don’t make sense to them — let alone that they could make sense for anyone else — and every person you walk past in the street, any street, is a mass of new experiences you could never hope to truly understand. From the second they were born they were on a different path, with a different family, with a different way of dealing with things, and a different reaction to the decisions of others that caused a series of life events that nobody else could really appreciate but them. But you. It’s not about religion, and it isn’t about how much you smile or don’t smile or changing your ways and trying harder. Even if they sat down with you every week for a year and told you about the hurt, the raging hot emotion of it all, the suffering and the good times, the rights and the wrongs, you’d never really know what they had been through – you’d never know, even, what was fact and what was fiction, as every word out of our mouths is, whether we want to believe it or not, I think, pre-edited to fit our version of events and the way we feel about it all. Our own personal truths. None of us know how we would react if we were put into the same situation as another person; we think we do, we imagine we might be able to and we compare what has happened with us to what has happened to others, but those are only opinions based on a quick, rough sketch – if you think you can imagine what someone else has gone through and really feel that pain, you are simply wrong. Because even if you’ve lived an experience that seems similar on the surface, beneath that is a wealth of information and light and dark that couldn’t be more different. Despite the closeness of shared experiences, even if you both get each other, you may as well be on separate planets.
Drugs, bad childhoods, good childhoods, addiction to life and love and everything in-between: so many variables.
And we forget all this sometimes, I think. We simplify things so we can make sense of stuff that we either don’t want to delve completely into, or would rather inspect on face-value from a comfortable distance. We see a guy or girl selling a Big Issue and we think we have the slightest idea of how they ended up that way; we chat amongst ourselves, ruminating pointlessly on how things should have been different and would have been if they’d made certain choices, or did something for themselves. Better families, better morals, better ethics. They seem so weak, don’t they? standing there begging for our money, yet I once bumped into a man who had been mugged of all his daily takings and who was carrying on not giving up. This man, he displayed a kind of will and testament to his right to be here that went well beyond just needing to do it; this was his basic human right he was fighting for. He was just trying to sell a few magazines on Christmas Eve and he was mugged, dragged into an alleyway and beaten unconscious for £35. People saw it happen, a bus-full of commuters, and nobody did a thing, all turned the other way. After speaking with him, I started to shiver. The gravity of what he had told me made me feel sick. The wealth of cruelty in the world seemed to surround me as I walked away that day, and it followed me home that night. Seemed to be in the eyes of every person, the towering buildings and the cars, so eager to get wherever they were going; the importance of society over everything else. I saw a child holding hands with his mother and felt sorry for him. So innocent, but one day soon these things would creep up on him and there is no escape, for nobody, nowhere.
It was a single 1 in the top right of my WordPress Dashboard that triggered the post you are reading now. I clicked on it this morning, saw it was a Like from a fellow blogger and clicked again to see the blogger’s profile – a smiling face, blonde hair, happy-looking; these were my simple first impressions. A minute later I was reading a post which gripped me completely on a blog which is nothing less than fascinating and what I consider very much essential reading. This is Stella’s blog and I do not use the word essential loosely. Stella’s writings are frank, straight from the heart and 100% educational on so many levels — words that have helped many and will continue to do so, that much is clear. A call-girl and hooker for 10 years who turned her life around with the help of some valuable friends, I can’t remember the last time I read writing of such heartfelt honesty. Thanks for dropping by and hitting Like on my blog, Stella, and wishing you all the best: you’re a role-model to anyone out there who has ever fought against something massive and enormous.
Because it’s about education and enlightenment, people. We need this, and without it ignorance gets to claw its way into every aspect of our lives. Stella Marr founded Survivors Connect to help others who have been the victim of trafficking and prostitution.