Yesterday the Yahoo email fairy sprinkled sparkle over my otherwise pants day. I didn’t write about this yesterday because I was SO EXCITED I actually felt sick.
It was an email from the media dept. of Mind charity in Londoninium town.
I’m a media volunteer for them WHICH I LOVE, and yesterday there was an invitation that arrived in my inbox to go to parliament to chat all things mental health with important policy makers.
Reading the message was like one of those (un-drug induced) trips I sometimes get when life overwhelms and stimulates me in ever so very exciting ways.
I was in a foul mood when I first read it….. I allowed a few moments to let the message absorb, then I casually called to my hubby who was in the next room,
“Is it ok if I go to parliament next month to meet some MPs at Westminster?”
imagine distant sound of snorting laughter emenating from the kitchen………
“No honestly, I mean it”, I confirmed with inwardly surprised sincerity.
Being a media volunteer for a national UK charity like Mind is a great opportunity which I absolutely leapt at when it was first suggested to me. I have done radio. I have done a regional news piece. I have written various stuff for them which has been published, and it has all been hugely personally rewarding, but this takes the proverbial biscuit as being an opportunity that is quite unique and quite fab :)
I imagine this will only happen once in my lifetime. It’ll be one of those ‘pinch me’ moments.
Let me start from the outset by admitting I don’t like politicians, en masse anyway, nor do I get
very at all involved in politics. I am not particularly interested in politics and I never read articles or newspapers by choice. My politically aware blogger friend Anna from THE DAILY ANNAGRAM tells me I MUST start being interested in politics because politics is totes important. Maybe this is the universe sending a sign to me that she’s absolutely right. I purposefully bowed out of the recent election debate and made no comment on social media. I politically opted out fully. I didn’t even vote, LEGASP! But I will NOT be opting out of this chance to have my views heard as part of an important campaign. I can’t say anymore about it at this stage…confidentiality and all that jazz.
The reason I take no interest in politics generally I guess is I feel I have no personal influence over it, therefore why bother. (Before you think the obvious, I know voting in elections and refendums is showing influence, to an extent, but when all my area of Blighty votes blue in huge swathes, what use will any alternate vote I make actually have on end outcomes?) That’s my view, so I didn’t vote, but that is in the past now and by the 9th June I’d moved on.
This opportunity is completely different to me though. I feel so proud that I was asked to be there in the first place. I didn’t ask for this. It was offered to me on a platter, and I feel so hugely grateful as I know there are so many people who would wish to be doing this in my place. I want to make sure I don’t waste this opportunity, because it’s really important.
The cynics will predict in advance that the visit to Westminster will be a waste of time and it’s all a bollocksy show for the media so the politicians are seen to be listening to real people with mental health living on da streets but actually have no intention of adapting their policies. I do get why people might think that, and the only reason I typed that thought in this blog is I’d already fleetingly had it myself, so I get it, but I personally am choosing to remain optimistic that good and beneficial outcomes WILL come from it. That’s my plan and my goal and my aim.
Getting the itinerary on the day was so exciting. It all sounds very London-ish and political and proper and important. I said I’d be happy to schmooze with the parliamentarians and the press which is quite bonkers but LUSH.
Incidentally, I didn’t even know parliamentarian was a word, but apparently it is as the Mind person used it in an email. It means politicians in plural, like a gaggle of geese or a pride of lions.
I can’t wait to be thrown in with the parliamentarians in their den.
Apart from the travelling I am quite nervous what to wear, which admittedly is shallow, but I know I’ll be photographed by the press (shaking hands with the politicians presumably, or spilling glasses of westminster tap water over them if I don’t like their policies??). I dunno. It’s all a bit bonkers and hard to imagine, as I always struggle imagining doing things I have never done before. I know I shouldn’t be stressed about travelling and clothing and it is really what I say and the talky bit that matters, but I’m fairly confident with strangers and I’m sure I’ll be able to successfully wing it as winging it is my speciality.
I have never been alone on the train to Londinium. That is a big thing for me. I have only actually been to London twice in my life, one when I was in single digits wearing ribbons in my hair, and one for a surprise star wars exhibition at the barbican which was a birthday treat for the hubby, except the only true surprise was he had to pay for it himself.
So London town will be a new experience for this country girl with her PTSD crowd-fearing tendencies.
I am being met by a Mind charity person at the station to be escorted to Westminster on the tube, as I did NOT trust myself to find my way there unaccompanied.
There will be shit loads of people there because London is a city. GASP.
A fucking big and busy one.
Heavily populated by southerners
With any luck this coast dwelling peace-loving northerner will get on OK and have a brilliant day; one to remember :) That’s the plan.
If anyone feels generous and like they’d like to donate (any amount) to my local Mind charity, here is the link to my JustGiving page for Tyneside and Northumberland Mind….HERE :) x