Suffering just ‘is’

“Sometimes suffering is just suffering. It doesn’t make you stronger. It doesn’t build character. It only hurts.”

— Kate Jacobs; ‘Comfort Food’

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Pride Season: The Unsent Letter – Man In An Orange Shirt

A most heartfelt letter written, but never sent. The tender letter from Thomas to his lover Michael, written in around 1957. Taken from the brilliant ‘Man In An Orange Shirt’, this is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful yet tragic love stories I’ve ever seen on TV and encapsulates an era of forbidden love. A love that dare not speak (or write) it’s name for fear of imprisonment. It would be another decade before the law on prohibiting homosexual relationships would be repealed, at least in the United Kingdom.

“The love I feel for you runs through me like grain through wood.”

Think about that for a minute.

If you haven’t seen the BBC adaptation of Man In An Orange Shirt, it’s available on BBC iPlayer for the next couple of weeks.

The Unsent Letter:

My Darling Thomas,

I'm at work. Nobody knows I'm writing to you here. They think I’m drafting a long and stupefying memorandum about incremental shifts in the price of Welsh coal since the end of the war for the ladies in the typing pool to type up later.

You refuse my visits so you're probably tearing up my letters too but there's nothing else I can do but keep trying. It's beyond my control, do you see?

All those months ago, when I had nothing to lose really, I wrote to you in my head but was too cowardly to set more than lies upon paper. And now I find I no longer care. The love I feel for you runs through me like grain through wood. I love you, Thomas. Your face, your voice, your touch, enter my mind at the least opportune moments and I find I have no power to withstand them. No desire to.

I want us to be together as we were in the cottage. Only for ever, not just a weekend. I want it to go on so long that it feels normal. I think of you constantly. Your face, your breath on my neck at night. I want to do all the ordinary, un-bedroomy things we never got around to doing. Making toast. Raking leaves. Sitting in silence.

I love you, Thomas.
I’ve always loved you.
I see that now.
Tell me I'm not too late.

Michael

***

Everything in this image has been created from scratch by The Vandeput Design Co. and is copyright…

© 2017, Ryan Vandeput. Without exception, you may not use this image for any purpose in whole or part without licence from The Vandeput Design Co. Email ryan@ryanvandeput.com to request permissions.

You were loved…



Life is but a brief moment. The years go by quickly and old age arrives suddenly before we have an inkling. People desire so many things and waste their days in vain. Some yearn for gold, others for power, yet others for glory and a higher station. But when death’s moment nears and they look back at their lives they’ve lived, they realise they’ve been happy only during those moments when they’ve loved.”

From what I’ve seen, most people with an opinion on this horror in Orlando are trying to claim or disclaim it for something:

– He did it for ISIS.
– He acted on his own without orders.
– This was an Islamism-inspired massacre.
– It was a homophobic massacre.
– He was gay or had gay tendencies.

It is perfectly possible for all the above statements to be simultaneously true, and highly likely they are. Yet they are being treated as if they contradict one another.

The victims were targeted because they were gay. That matters, and it particularly matters to gay people – why shouldn’t it? As the slaughter of Jews in the streets of Europe and Israel has shown us, when people are being murdered simply for being the thing they are, that is terrifying thought, and rightly so. It does make it about you, more so than about everybody else – whether you like it or not, and trust me, it’s “not”. So it’s all very well taking the line, “This was an attack on all of us, on our society, on our freedoms,” and yes, it was. But the dead people are gay people, and to treat that as somehow secondary is adding insult to grotesque and unfathomable injury.

Islamist groups, by their cult-like nature and grandiose rhetoric, inevitably attract the disaffected, the fucked-up and violent – whether directly or claiming to act in their name – because they give those people a cause, licence and purpose with which to gratify their ugly impulses, even if they know fuck-all about that cause. Other causes and groups have performed the same function over the years. But this is where the problem lies *right now*, so it’s highly relevant.

The whole “This has nothing to do with religion” line is plainly wishful thinking. It has a great deal to do with religion. But what is also true is if you took religion out of the equation, abominations like this scumbag would find something else to latch onto – and then we’d have to look for a way to address that. Cults and causes provide the channel, the amplification, for the nasty to become the deadly. Islamism is the major such channel *today*, which is when we live; and Islamism subsists within Islam, not separately to it; so we need to recognise that.

Those desperate to exonerate Islam entirely, and those desperate to blame it entirely while shrugging off the obvious homophobic nature of the killings (“Oh, look, he was gay, so it can’t have been homophobic!” – fucking hell, seriously? You can’t have gay homophobes? Have you thought about that for three fucking seconds?), are picking out the bits that suit their existing take on things and binning the rest.

On the obviously crucial issue of gun control, I’ve got nothing useful to say, as I can’t imagine anybody who’s ever going to read this would disagree with me on the matter, and none of us are able to have the slightest effect on it or influence those who might. So what’s the point?

But as for the rest, well: disentangling what you would like to think from what is actually going on won’t stop it going on, but it will be a start. I’ve struggled to do that myself, but I’m finding that even if you don’t want to confront reality, reality will make it its business to confront you.

Finally, nothing here is ever promised, and there but for the grace of God go you or I. Life is short, love is love, we must enjoy life in freedom and not simply exist in fear.

Felt a little more perky today, just a little bit… but my attempted pompadour has collapsed!

#blackandwhite #bw #nofilter #nofilterneeded #hypocam #instagay #lgbt #gayguy #gay #singlegay #wales #cymru #uk #saturdayselfie #selfie #saturday #home #love #monochrome #pompadour #hair #black #portrait (at River Cottage)

Viv la Paris, viv la France, viv la liberté, and together we stand with Paris.

Should this attack in Paris be the result of Muslim extremists, as it looks, they want people to react with hatred, bigotry and calls for retaliation. They want people to hate Muslims, to fear Muslims and anyone who looks like them. They want to drive a wedge between non-Muslims and the 1.6 billion peaceful Muslims who are our friends, neighbours, members of our family and colleagues. Terrorists want us to isolate our friends, and make them feel unwelcome and alone, make them feel attacked. They want to make them feel like the only ones they can turn to are the radicals.

Do not let them do this.

The Enlightenment poured the foundations for the Western world to embrace the principle of religious freedom, whether that god is Jehovah, Buddha, Ganesha, Allah or anyone else. We must embrace our Muslim brothers and sisters in arms, we must condemn those who would spit on them and drive them out in retaliation, we must protect the right to worship freely that they have by virtue of being a human being.

That is how we beat the terrorists. Not with bigotry and hatred, but by saying “those evil extremists are not you, and I will refuse to treat you like they want me to.”

#paris #Love #Peace #France #ParisAttacks #vivlafrance #vivlaparis #vivlaliberté #vivlaliberte #standwithpp #standwithparis #weallstandtogether #instaparis #daneshgah #danesh #isil #isis #islamicstate #hateislamicstate #ParisSolidarity #carillon #L6Njesuisparis #jesuisparis #liberty #liberté