It’s barely November and I know what this year’s theme is going to be…loss. The losses of David Bowie and Gene Wilder and Prince, sure, I mourned with my friends, in much the same way I mourned Brexit with my British colleagues on the Aquarius, who had, to a man and woman, voted In and were very vocal about it . The deaths of Rob Ford and René Angélil were kind of a shock, and although I’d never had a particularly strong attachment to either character, their passing did kind of represent the end of an era. The death of Ali, who I’d always respected for his activism and his determination to be true to himself, did sting.
There was my friend Bélinda, murdered in Burundi. There was our former boss, kind, level-headed softspoken Vincent (link in French), who died in Belgium, far from the country he’d worked so hard for. There was my friends’ friend Jean Bigirimana, a journalist who went out on assignment and never came back. There were the twenty-one nameless Nigerian women (and one man) who my colleagues pulled out of a flooded rubber boat on the Mediterranean, and the two-hundred-plus shellshocked survivors.
There were personal losses too– my job in Winnipeg and my job on the Aquarius. Although the end of my time on the Aquarius was expected– it was a contract with an end date– I still went through a period of mourning. There was the loss of a certain naïveté about how my disability affects me and the way others see me. Dyspraxia and the anxiety that goes with it will always be part of my life. All I can do is manage things. I don’t know if or when I’ll be able to drive or swim like a “normal” adult; I will always be a compulsive list-maker and back-of-the-hand writer. I just have to cope the best I can and block out the person that calls me “cripple” (handicapé) to my face, tells me I should work from home so I’m out of sight of the public, yells at me for pushing a chair in wrong or wonders out loud who can “fix” me. After waiting more than 25 years to be taken seriously, to become an imposing, unflappable hybrid of Ryszard Kapucsinski and Lara Croft, realizing it may never happen has been hard.
There was the complete and utter déroute of Tuesday night, about which I was going to write something but I think enough ink has already been spilled to have a serious effect on the world’s ink supply. An uninspiring but technocratic and generally sane female candidate lost out to a flashy millionaire who tapped into a disturbing wellspring of unaddressed rage, and once he had his hand on the hose, decided to direct that water cannon of rage at out groups.
Tonight’s loss kind of synthesized all the other losses for me.