Today is the first day I’ve gone without a prompt. Essentially it’s because a great development opportunity is available but it’s also one that would potentially fuck my shit up in terms of going beyond what is deemed permitted work.
This development opportunity is designed around providing a ladder up for those with disabilities and from lower socio-economic brackets.
However I have made it known that current DWP rules essentially great an aspiration premium whereby opportunities for advancement act as an aspiration premium.
This isn’t new to me. In 2008 after getting into Manchester University for my 1st attempt at a university education (which was plagued with mental health struggles) I went 3 months between signing up for uni to starting at uni without money because I was classed as student… completely ignorant of the fact I at that time had an insecure tenancy due to it’s infancy after spending the prior year homeless and on top of that having no money to in benefits to live off. This also meant no housing benefit either which meant I’d start university with 3 months of rent arrears.
This new opportunity years later after a year out of work as a chef due to Covid would double what’s deemed as permitted work. I believe opportunities designed to support the most vulnerable in society should also acknowledge the systemic barriers that mean the support offered to such people shouldn’t fuck their shit up. Be creative. Give half as a salary and half as a grant. Split one offer between two people in the same boat with the permitted work situation… £6500 of £13,000 is sure as hell better than £0 which is what I’ve had as a chef for the last year.
For years I was embarrassed of being on ESA, of my disability, and of my mental health struggles.
But now I offer a fuck you to the system and society that made me feel that way… I, am the hammer!
Today I’ve opted to use the official NaPoWriMo prompt of The Road Not Taken. When I was 19 I had a graphic design internship with the Lesbian and Gay Foundation but I found myself pulled more into the performing arts opportunities that Contact provided as part of Contact Young Actors Company. I recently pondered what would have happened if I’d continued down the graphics and web design path rather than my love of the stage after booting up Photoshop and seeing so much has changed in the last decade.
First off, let me apologise for not updating the website in awhile. I’ve been more active creatively in the past year than I probably have been in the entire last 5 years.
I’m involved in some incredible opportunities such as Fringe Factory Films, many things with Disabled Artists Networking Community, and the Beyond program with Graeæ theatre company and Bolton Octagon.
Uni is going well. I’ve decided to major in creative writing and philosophy.
I’ve also been doing standup comedy since deciding to get into it last year and while it was a bizarre first year to choose I’ve made some excellent friends, especially those at International House of Comedy.
I stand on the precipice of some amazing opportunities but a combination of depression and witnessing the pointless cruelty of someone stifling the creativity and growth of a loved one while also affecting a potentially beneficial project have gotten me royally fucked off. Jaime Lannister may have said “by what right does the Wolf judge the Lion?” but a larger question for our society is “by what right does the fly hinder the workhorse?” For a fly knows nothing but the stench of shit and hindering those that are doing or have the potential to be doing good work.
Anyway. Here’s the piece:
Take a pinch of reality – oh shit… the whole cup
with the wisdom of Solomon to ask for none.
For knowledge without power is lacking in agency…
I have no taste for fuelling falsehoods flagrantly.
Is a pigeon stand-offish when the ledge is spiked?
I carry the message that’s needed, not the one that is liked.