Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Rounded Balls

     It’s going to be on my headstone, isn’t it? “Ed Balls, she totally would have”. Despite my best efforts, you lot are a load of filthy smut lovers and that remains my most popular blogpost by a fuckload. It’s also the most shambolic and chaotic I’ve ever posted, owing to my complete lack of blogging ability at the time. I’ve been telling myself for years to go back and tidy it up, cut out the dead links, make it look neat and tidy and slightly less frenzied, yet I can’t ever really be arsed. I think the crappiness of it lends it a certain charm/worryingly stalkerish air, as though my brain was so addled by Balls that I was typing with one hand.

     Err… I wasn’t, by the way. Just to be clear.

     It just won’t die, that post. Every few weeks it obviously gets stumbled across by someone looking at the dark underbelly of Balls, and it gets shared around a bit. And then, quite often, people are so horrified that they can’t look away from the screen and so they read other posts of mine and… well, I can imagine that it’s not quite what they expected. There’s no obvious overlap between Ed Balls and medieval graffiti, or cricket, or poetry, or music, or me swearing my fat white arse off about other bloggers, or detailing how it feels when your life explodes into the tiny fragments of a shattered mirror and you have to explain to your child why there’s blood on your face.

     Except that there is an overlap. And it’s obvious. At least to me. But then I would say that.

     Friday was a bit of a strange day, all told. For starters it was ED BALLS DAY (which I think you’ll find is an ancient Pagan tradition, actually), so Mumsnet Bloggers reshared That Blogpost, just in case anyone had been spared. My twitter notifications all day were a thing of joy and beauty, the nation uniting under The Balls. Sadly, I had to leave the celebrations for a few short hours to attend the launch event of Flintspiration, a weekend long celebration of the heritage of Norwich’s churches… What? And part of the launch was me giving a tour of the medieval graffiti at Norwich Cathedral, which I just sodding LOVE to do. I’m not much use in many other respects, but I know a bit about graffiti, the cathedral in particular. My contribution to actually finding graffiti there can be confined to one small cross, but I can talk about it for hours. And do.

     I had a LOVELY group to take round, who were full of interest and asked great questions and I really, really enjoyed it – you could say I’m still fairly pert and bouncy from it now, the equivalent of a graffiti hangover. The only thing was…. The assumption that I was something more than I am. That I must be something to do with the University of East Anglia. No? A freelance researcher? No? Working for the Museums Service? And each time, I just smiled and explained that I’m just a volunteer, no one special or important and each time I could see a slight frown develop, because it didn’t quite add up. I could almost read their thought process ‘But you seem so confident in your knowledge and explanation, you answered every question convincingly. You seem so passionate and excited to introduce us to graffiti. You can’t just be a volunteer with no qualifications or expertise.’

     But like I said, the answer is obvious. I’m just a person. And like most people, most normal people that is, I’m not a single issue fanatic with only one topic of conversation or interest. Loving medieval graffiti doesn’t exclude me from tweeting CAPS LOCK SWEARS during the cricket. Having a folder titled ‘Political Sex Faces’ on my laptop doesn’t mean I don’t know what it’s like to attempt suicide. Being RARGGGHHH and kickarse didn’t protect me from violence. Because that is the human condition. To be multifaceted, contradictory, interested, and hopefully interesting.

     When I think of the people who know me – and I mean really know me – they have seen all sides of me and accept me for who and what I am. It’s liberating, to know that there is no need for me to impress anyone, to prove my credentials, or claim legitimacy through links to other people who are considered Official. So if that means that sometimes I’m serious, sometimes I’m silly, sometimes I’m sobbing… I’m human. I’m healthy. I am as I should be. I am as I should be seen, as I am, as it is my personality which defines me, and it is my thoughts and interests that define my personality. Possibly not to universal taste, but there we are. I'm rounded, not superficial or one dimensional.

     People might think they know me for one thing, one article, one blogpost, one tweet. I’m more than that. Everyone is. We shouldn’t be afraid to show that, for fear of losing face. We shouldn’t tie ourselves to one subject to avoid standing alone. We should not claim to be something we are not. At least I think so.  But then I’m just an Ed Balls volunteer and I totally do medieval graffiti.