Fuck positivity

Fuck me, not another blog on the same day, don’t you know I’ve got better things to do than read your ranting bollocks? Well the new me, pretty much in the same vein as the old me, doesn’t care. Not in the doesn’t care way about all you lovely folk who sometimes peruse my ramblings but more in the doesn’t care way of realisation that I am in a privileged position and can write stuff that acts in a therapeutic way for me. Often I’m inspired to write in response to something that’s triggered my ire and I feel better after writing about it. Sometimes I’m inspired by something life affirming like Mr Okri’s poem. And sometimes, like this particular piece, by something personally pertinent which is an article by one Deborah Orr (Will Self’s wife by the way, but that sounds like I’m validating her by association, which I’m not but I like Mr Self). She writes about what I’ve learnt about the  crabby one, namely that there are so many different types of cancers that afflict any number of unique individuals. She also triggered in me a thought about how I am advantaged in being able to write about it.

She also discussed one of my favourite hobby horses: positivity. She writes that writers who write about their crabby experience claim to “demystify” cancer but actually only “simplify” the experience. This is pretty obvious as we write only of our own experience and this is unique, whilst there might be similarities with others no two of us undergo exactly the same experience. This simplification is then unfortunately linked with “being positive”, a term I am increasingly at odds with. For starters there can be no “positivity” without “negativity”, no ying without yang, no good without bad, no up without down and no meaningless “centre ground”.

But also, as Ms Orr writes, that those with a poor diagnosis and facing imminent death “are a failure”. As I write this Kate tells me that her sister in law who’s had cancer for a while has just been told she has secondaries in her brain.

But people like Ms Orr, and to a large extent myself, have been told that our cancers have a reasonable chance of survival, that for a while I had a sympathetic employer (not the kleptonic ceo), supportive family and friends and other factors that allowed me to feel more positive. This is not the case for many others, especially those with no voice. How we deal with misfortune is intimately linked to “the advantage or disadvantage of the state of your life before diagnosis”.

I feel sad about Kate’s sister in law and family.

I am re-energised to put on a fund raising show for monies for individuals with cancer who have real difficulties with simple travel expenses to get their treatment.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan

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