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In Poland they do All Souls Eve and Day instead of Halloweening, and its beautiful watching the graveyards lit up with the yellowed lights of yellow glass cemetery candles. But in Poland they’ve also, this week, passed some horrifically restrictive abortion laws, and they’re trampling all over LGBTQ+ rights — in the name of a god they’re calling love and their government is saying that it’s the protesters who are the problem, and how dare they use their archaic shame structures to control other peoples bodies? But they dare. And that’s only one place, dear to my one heart, in this time. There is so much of so many isms to fight. And it’s all very well to say breathe and be here now and be OK now. But it’s not, they’re not, we’re not OK.
I’ve been pretty successful, I think, at invisibling my panic attacks, and myself, until I couldn’t. A panic attack, I’ve always told myself, is such a selfish thing. Writing about it would be such a selfish thing.
Like. That. Helps.
Turns out that a panic attack is like domestic abuse, in that the more you listen about it, talk about it, write about it, the more you realise you’re not alone. Noticing, breathing, breathing, noticing.
Last week I went to a meeting where I didn’t know people and had to talk and I didn’t externally scream or run away. This week I went yogaing in a small room with other people and didn’t even internally scream and run away, though I did some heavy breathing but I think I got away with it because yoga.
And this is where the certificates fit in. It’s prizegiving season and while I truly, truly, truly do enjoy celebrating other people’s successes, I’m watching anxious young people I know already anxioused that they’re not prizeworthy material.
Which ties this back into what we prize. It’s all connected, after all.
What makes the panic recede and the protests succeed, I’ve noticed, is showing up.
Nobody, I’ve noticed, gets certificated for showing up. And breathing. Or if they do, it’s like a consolation prize, or a silver star fridge chart, and not for actual winners. Winning is a single-wrapped lolly situation. Hollow-win.