In These Times of Uncertainty

I have always loved writing, loved words, loved watching films and TV and getting taken away by the people living within them.

The feeling of being engrossed, the feeling of excitement, of butterflies… I love it all.

Tonight, as I sit here with my YouTube playlist automatically playing in the background, a familiar video appears… Bad Girls: Helen Stewart. It is one I admittedly have not seen in quite some time as my Bad Girls obsession came to a natural simmer as I went from teenager to adult.

…and here lies the meaning for such a random post:

The video brought back memories and feelings. The feeling of excitement and of being so enthralled and captured by something that made me feel so alive. How can a TV show do that? It amazes me now. I very rarely get so taken in by a TV show or a film that I’m sitting there glued to the screen. This show, however, always manages to glue me.

Years after the series ended and even more years after fans said goodbye to Helen Stewart, I still wonder what it was that made us Bad Girls fans so loyal.

The show offered me such a strong feeling of meaningfulness and togetherness. Something that I very much needed when I first discovered the show in my adolescence. The struggle of identity and of seeing Helen’s passion and fire for wanting to do the right thing and to get justice for Nikki was something that caused me to feel empowered and wanting to take on the whole world.

The writing, the people, the realness… This show had it all and while things have moved on and changed over the years, this show can still hold its own.

I am not often in awe of things these days, but tonight I had that feeling of butterflies and excitement at seeing characters that I always held so dearly.

In these times of uncertainty, of lockdowns and madness, I hope you all find something to feel alive about. No matter how small or silly.

To be transported back to a time where I felt such love and admiration for the character of Helen Stewart, that she has always stayed with me. Sometimes things have no explanation and sometimes no explanation is needed.

Stay safe.

Pandemic Annoyances

In my life, there have been times where I have had restrictions. Times where I have not left the house for long periods of time. Times where I have been isolated.

This has given me a slight advantage when dealing with this pandemic. It has meant that my anxiety stayed low, I was not ‘freaking out’ and I was able to take it all in my stride.

However…

Now, I am fed up and annoyed. I can be a little bit of a control freak – this means that I am starting to twitch at the fact that we are potentially once again having choice taken away. I live in a City where the number of cases are currently (apparently) increasing. This means that the City is now on some naughty list to be watched and potentially sent into another lockdown. There has been mention of Marshal presence. There has been a limitation on how many people you can and cannot see and where you can see them. Unless you’re at work or school…

Everyone is saying “Christmas may be cancelled.”

Travel restrictions may be put into place. Again. So now I can be once again separated from my mum until the government says otherwise? Or can I see her because there’s only me, my partner and her? Or can I only travel when it’s essential? What is essential? And who says what is essential travel for me?

Families are only able to come together for Christmas if there are 6 or less people present… Well, what about those of us that don’t have enough family to be able to count past 2? Are we allowed to travel to see our family?

Making people give their details when they go out publicly to socialise so track and trace can be completed… Yes, okay… but why now? Why not enforce that one right from the start?

We also might be given a 10pm curfew – who and how is that about to be enforced? What about people who work the late shift or do nights? Do they need to carry their work rota with them as proof they’ve been to or are going to work? Because anyone can carry a badge – I have a badge. I could carry that with me and claim that I’m doing a late shift… who is to know if I actually am doing a late shift or if I’m off to meet my 20 pals?

Eat out to help out was encouraging everyone to go back out and meet in groups to help put money back into the economy and now that we’ve done that, we’re being told to go stay indoors. We do as we’re told and then get told we’re causing the virus to surge again.

If you socialise in a group of more than 6 people, you’re breaking the law (from 14th September) and will be fined. But not if you’re at work or in education. Can we not catch it at work or school?

Sheila Jackson

Screen-Shot-2018-03-15-at-3.55.51-PM
Maggie O’Neill – Sheila Jackson
( http://www.kiwireport.com/cast-shameless-uk-like-now/ )

In (approximately) 2006 a friend came to me, “Have you seen Shameless? It’s brilliant. I love it. There’s someone in it who is agoraphobic, like you!” They leant me the DVD’s – I watched a couple of episodes…

“This is not agoraphobia.”
“Is this meant to be how agoraphobia is? Am I even doing this wrong?”
“What is this?”
“I don’t want to ever see this again.”

I never watched it again. It made me feel sick. I was so angry and so depressed. I should have very clearly been able to relate to this.

My friends are watching this. Is this what they think my life is now?

Even now, googling “Shelia Jackson UK agoraphobia” comes up with nothing but references to the character’s sexual ‘deviances’.

 

 

joan-cusack-shameless-tv-2011-photo-GC
Joan Cusack – Sheila Jackson
( http://www.snakkle.com/galleries/before-they-were-famous-stars-happy-birthday-actress-joan-cusack-snakkle-looks-back-on-her-career-in-photos-then-and-now/joan-cusack-shameless-tv-2011-photo-gc/ )

I have Netflix – Netflix provides me with the knowledge that Shameless was turned into an American show…

“Holy shit!”
“Oh.”
“I don’t know if I can watch this.”
“This is it! This is what it was! This was me!”

Never in my life have I been so pleased to find a show that represents me. There is humour, there is sex but the moments of this character’s struggle are so brutally honest that I sometimes cannot look. It is amazing.

I am also aware as I consider this, that each person will have their own experiences with such illnesses. I am aware that the UK Shameless had a large following and was adored.

American shows sometimes get the reputation in England of being overly dramatic, leading to me being unsure as to whether to tune in, to begin with. I had expected it to be extremely over the top and while it may be the case in later episodes (I’m not there yet), this character portrayed by Joan Cusack is a breath of fresh air.

It can be so difficult to find someone within TV/film who you see yourself in when you’re an unboxed member of society.

I am thankful that I found this, my 15-year-old self rejoices. Loudly.