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Healing the Trauma of Mass Production

As is my wont, as a hysterical anti-imperial capitalist creative millennial, I believe in framing life in the modern world through the lens of trauma. Not my personal trauma, although- that, but also trauma as a framework to explain the unfathomable behaviour of large portions of my species.

I've had my share of 'let's do things differently' conversations, and I'm never not surprised by the quantity of eyerolling, and strawmanning, and regurgitating of (debunked) facts, that it takes to hold down a personally beneficial position in this society- The ideology bending that plays out as a frantic 'twister on ice', to keep the horror of what we've done (and continue to do) to get here, at bay. The only sensible conclusion I can draw, is that majority of global north society is trauma responding, or trauma cycling. Deeply damaged, prone to addictive consumption, baited by (unfortunately deserved) imposter syndrome and manipulative external standards of worth that will not be satiated. And papering over it with respectability; centrism, promotions, two sides to every story, the colours; beige navy blue and grey, central heating and supermarket 2 for 1 offers.

Which is not to prioritise white trauma (first world trauma) over, above, or even next to the experiences of the countless beautiful cultures that have been brutally colonised and erased by capitalist activity. It's just to quietly suggest that no-one is getting away with this thing. That the ends don’t even justify the means, sliced bread is literally not even that good. Furthermore- when you reach an understanding of connectedness (no man is an island/ magic mushrooms), then there can be no ends justifying any means, because the experience of the means is intrinsically connected to the ends. We aren't actually lucky to live at the top of the food chain, that corrupt and cruel foodchain is getting into our bodies and the symptoms of allowing such poison into our system is plain to see.

Organic cotton, or recycled polyester, CANNOT solve this. This is a situation that requires intense and sustained healing. We are a collective Amy Winehouse- brilliant, talented, anxious, destructive, doomed unless we go to rehab. And not just western medicine rehab. We must design our own personalised journey back to health, (without the constraints of inadequate funding, and for-profit lobbying that plague our institutions).

A couple of years ago, at just 33 years of age- I slipped a disc in my back. I noticed a mild twingeing pain in my right leg, and then 6 months later I walked around bent over at a 60 degree angle (I could literally walk about 10m, before I had to squat down on the ground to rest) and people thought I was on crack.

At the time I was completely enraged, but actually, to have gone on that journey of healing was one of the most insightful experiences of my life, and it shifted my relationship to my body AND MAYBE EVEN THE WORLD. so, as is my wont, I'm grateful and all that.

Based on that journey of learning to stand upright again, I have some suggestions for how the great healing might take place.

  • We need the right experts

I visited a number of physios and osteopaths and back cracking people, and none of them helped until Dr Mark. He was engaged and passionate back healer. He worked patiently and cheerfully with me, taking clear joy in getting me mended when I didn't even really believe it was possible. He used a range of techniques from a range of cultural practices without prejudice or arrogance. He just went about his work as a normal person, even though he was EXCELLENT. This is a rare find. But, the brilliant thing is, as the great healing gets bigger, there will be more and more of these people around, and then more and more healing will happen, eventually it won't even be a thing. I feel like I’m sort of talking about good podcasts here, probably Russell Brand.

  • We need to work out the knots.

A lot of the therapy I had was massage and medical dry needling. My body had gone into muscle spasm to try and protect my injured back. And every one of those clenched up muscles is like a myth that we've been told about our culture that covers up a painful truth. Like the myth that rich people earnt money by working hard, and that's why they deserve to own all the land. When actually they mostly bought land with slave profits. This bit is the reason why I’m blogging when I should be making really well fitting bras. I can feel some of those knots under the surface, maybe this blog can be a dry needle- bringing the bodies attention to them, so the muscles can release.

  • We need to love ourselves again

When my back collapsed I felt really let down. This body, that I had literally neglected and run into the ground without a second thought, had the audacity to bite me back. I thought there was an understanding between me and my body that we didn't love ourself because of how hardcore and cool we were. But I'd never even been kind enough to feel grateful that my body had, for so long, done whatever I asked it to and been completely hardcore and cool. I didn't really begin to heal my spine, until Dr Mark said I might need surgery, and suddenly I thought- this is ridiculous, I'm not having surgery for slouching. And I decided that if I worked together with my body as a team, we could probably avoid the surgery. Part of being in that team was to recognise that my body had needs, like using my core muscles. My body is me, so loving my body; thinking about it's needs, putting in effort to meet those, that required that I accept that I deserve love from myself.

In the Global North, a lot of us have too much (in planetry boundaries terms) the earth cannot sustain the quantity of our desires. But I would contest the idea that we have a high standard of living. As someone who knows my shit on textiles, I can tell you that we have cheap knock offs of good stuff.

Part of the climate change puzzle is going to be recognising, articulating, and demanding that we deserve better. A lot less, but a lot better. We don’t deserve to stay trapped in jobs that force us to do harm, just to pay rents and mortgages. We deserve the time and space to actively participate in culture creation, not just buy back a version of it at a 200% markup. We deserve to dream a new future, without the caveat that- well it will never happen. As many cancer Drs will tell you; The first step to healing, is wanting to live.

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