THE HUMP MONTH

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Welcome to July.

The season of sunshine, school holidays, Wimbledon, Pimms and badly dressed Brits.

But most importantly? We have reached the midway point of the year.

Yes, people, we are six months deep into 2016 and normally, at this time of year, when the days are longer, the sun has (sort of) come out to play and holiday season is fast approaching, I would reflect on the new year’s resolutions I made in a post-Christmas haze of bubbles, glitter, balls dropping and Big Ben chiming and give them a quick jump start before we head into the second half of the show.

But this year feels different. The UK is in such a state of disarray and unrest that I feel more deflated than ever before and as though I’m still slogging through the mud at Worthy Farm, in the rain, without a coat, even though I arrived back to concrete and home comforts five days ago.

But why?

Because I live in a blue country where the two viable options for our future prime minister have been, at one point or another, Boris fucking Johnson or Michael ‘Spawn of Satan’ Gove and this scares me. I find myself living in a country where the only political party who supports the working people is crumbling before my very eyes. I live in a UK that is becoming less tolerant and, in small pockets, more racist and in the city that I know and love so well, we are still berating women for feeding their children in public, while football fans watch on, tops off, in beer gardens. I am living in a world where innocent people are being killed, while gun laws are still being not only upheld, but justified, by men and where ruining someone’s life by raping them is rewarded with a six month prison sentence. As bombs going off around the globe fails to shock me anymore, I find myself starting to wonder: where did it all go wrong?

At 27, I guess I am young, yes, and I have been told on numerous occasions that I am ‘too idealistic’ or that I ‘just don’t get it’, but the fact is, I actually do. I know fine well that we are in dire straits and that ‘our’ decision to leave the European Union is a bad one. I know that for good to happen, we have to pull together. I know, from history, that change is possible, it just takes time and effort, of which I am more than willing to put in. And, even though at times it might seem impossible or exhausting to do so, I refuse to change who I am, what I believe and I will continue to march on with an open mind and a liberal, loving heart, in spite of these strange and confusing times.

So, this July, instead of looking backwards to see whether I have achieved what I set out to at the start of the year, I want everyone to join me in looking forward with one goal: to provide light – in any capacity you can think of – in these dark times so that we can begin to sort this mess out. If this comes in the form of a peaceful protest, then raise that banner high. If you can and wish to provide aid to our fellow humans in Calais, then I will donate to your cause. Hug more, talk more and never give up hope for a brighter future because, if we don’t, then who else will?

I feel as though we, as a nation, have reached rock bottom and you know what they say happens when you get there, don’t you?

Stay hopeful, young ones. We’ve got this.

The only way is up.

#LOVEISLOVE

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Every now and again, we get a little reminder that not all human beings are on the same proverbial page as us.

Unfortunately, these reminders come in the form of death, destruction and heartache.

I mean, at what point are these people going to realise that if we all hated each other a little less and instead respected one another’s values, lifestyle choices and beliefs a little more, this world that we live in could be an even more beautiful place than it already is? A place of tolerance and peace? A place where it is okay to be gay? Because right now, we are destroying it.

As always however, in the face of pure evil, I would like to encourage you to focus on the good. I, for one, am so proud to be alive at a time where the majority of human beings disagree with this one, rogue gunman. I am so grateful to live in a country where it is okay to publicly pull together in support of the LGBT community. And I am relieved that, in 2016, many of us understand that love is simply love, regardless of age, gender or race. Just take a look at London last night, for example. I couldn’t be more proud of my city for standing up to this act of terror in such a peaceful way.

Please continue to spread messages of love and support to those families around the globe who are suffering today and every day. If we can all pull together as a human race, we are one step closer to defeating ‘them’.

Stay safe.

THE ANSWER

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They say that bombing for peace is like fucking for virginity.

And they are right. It is about as useful as a pen without ink.

I am as scared as you and I am as helpless as you. I sit on the tube with my eyes flitting frantically from side to side, wondering if that man over there – rummaging around in the bottom of his rucksack – is going to be the death of me. I wonder on a daily basis if my friends are going to make it into work okay. I wonder whether those suits in the city will be safe behind their desks and I dread turning on the news each night to find yet another explosion, massacre or declaration of war.

However fearful or angry I feel however, I refuse to turn to violence in times such as these.

Over the course of my lifetime, I have bore witness to three, horrific acts of terror against the western world: 9/11, 7/7 and now 11/13. I should, as a result, wish to seek revenge with bombs and violence, but I don’t. Of course, I have felt fear – feel fear – on a daily basis; terrorism has become a part of my daily life since I was twelve years old. Of course I am angry, hardened and paranoid as a result of these sporadic attacks, but in order for them to lose, I must stay positive. This is something I find easy to do because the truth is: I am fed up. I am fed up of being scared. Fed up of seeing blood stained streets, guns, torture, murder and fear. I am sick of sitting here, watching history repeating itself, of hearing inhumane requests to ‘close the borders!’ and ‘batten down the hatches!’ I am sick of humans turning this beautiful world that we live in, into a playground for death and destruction, so I simply refuse to indulge in it.

Many of you will accuse me of turning a blind eye to the events of the last few years and lots of you will accuse me of being ignorant, just because I am still smiling. But I’m not ignorant, I am simply just exhausted from fear and the disappointment of using violence to defeat violence that I have no other choice but to keep loving, marching and fighting for peace because if I don’t, what else do I have? There is no front line. There are no soldiers. Just reckless human beings with a desire to kill innocent people. And there is absolutely nothing I can do about it, except for spread the need for love and project visions of a peaceful world as far and as wide as possible.

I have sourced great comfort from the displays of love and support that have saturated social media over the last few days because it is a sign that we, as a world, are united, resilient and strong. It reminds me that there is more good than evil in the world, no matter what the headlines say. So don’t criticise those who display their affections on social media. We all feel sad, fearful, and most importantly, a little helpless, so it is right to do whatever it is that makes us feel like we are making a difference, because by doing just that, we probably are. So if you wish to drape your Facebook profile picture in a faded Tricolore then, please, do just that. If you want to share Charlie Hebdo’s front page on your Instagram, go ahead. March. Write. Talk. Basically, do whatever you can to stand united, stay positive and promote visions of a peaceful world.

What I am trying to say is that instead of feeling hatred, anger or wishing for revenge, keep the messages of love and unity flowing because it just serves as a reminder that that our gang – of tolerance and peace – is thankfully a lot bigger than theirs, which is built on an unsteady foundation of misery, ignorance and hatred. And I’ve got so much time for that.

So, for the people of Paris and across the world who have lost loved ones, who are in pain or living in fear: I want you to know that London loves you and that we are here for you.

Keep smiling and stay strong. It really is the only answer.