Saturday, 11 May 2013
A thank-you, and why we do what we do.
Posted by Lashings of Ginger Beer Time
Firstly - thank you all so, so much for helping us reach our funding target for Fanny Whittington! We raised £1,419 - our target was £1,250 - and so we can joyfully announce that we will indeed be at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. We'll be performing at Gryphon 1, on the 12th-17th and 19th-24th August, 8:15-9:15pm. You can book your tickets here. Everyone who backed us, we'll be in touch about your rewards this weekend!
Secondly - the rest of this post was written by a Lashings fan who wants to remain anonymous. They were going to post it on their own web presence, in the context of encouraging their friends to donate to our fundraiser, but ended up feeling uncomfortable with this level of public disclosure about their mental health. They sent it to us and said we could use in our fundraising campaign if we liked. We have decided to post it here as a thank-you to everyone who contributed - this is what you are helping us do.
[Content warnings: bullying, professional negligence, depression, suicidal ideation.]
Portrayals of people like us save lives.
I was badly bullied at school. Over my accent, my physical appearance, my weight, my ethnicity, my intelligence, my hobbies, my non-native-British vegetarian diet, my not yet apparent to me but apparently very obvious to everyone else non-normative sexuality by which I probably mean my gender presentation... I was emotionally abused on a daily basis for many years, and suffered physical violence on occasion too. I became physically ill, and suicidal.
When I reported this to the school, the teacher responsible for my pastoral care called me into her office, and made me write lists of things I was grateful for and things I was looking forward to. This was an exceptionally painful exercise Things I remember including on the list: 'no one spat at me today'. 'I said something in class and no one laughed'. I know that being thankful for what you have is supposed to be, like, mood-boosting or something, but mostly what it did for me was grinding me down, forcing me into awareness of how tiny the things I was grateful for were. My suicidal ideation dramatically increased. My class mates laughed at me for having to spend time in the pastoral care office, and accused me of fucking the teacher responsible.
And I remember, so, so vividly clearly the week that I wrote in my little book of enforced gratitude that this week, I wasn't going to kill myself because I wanted to see Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer kiss another girl on television that weekend.
I looked forward to that portrayal of those lesbians. I was grateful for it. And I am alive today, because I hung on long enough to see it, and then gradually, bit by bit, things got better.
I was at the Lashings of Ginger Beer Time performances of Cinderella. And I bounced along with everyone else because there they were, on stage, in public, telling stories about people like us. With a happy ending and everything! And I cannot, simply cannot overstate the importance of that. I am alive, today, because once upon a time someone told a story about someone like me, and it came into my life at the right moment.
Finding that there are people like us out there in the big wide scary world is so, so important. Hearing our stories retold is what makes us human. It's what keeps us alive. That's what these guys do. That's what you're paying for.
Plus it'll make you laugh. Make you squee. If you're lucky, make you think. That's what stories are for. And that's worth paying for.
Posted by Orlando at 13:10