We Get It

We Get It provides support and information for people dealing with cancer. The team host workshops, get togethers and events, so that those affected by cancer can meet others who understand what they’re going through and feel supported.

For our Dream Space exhibition, We Get It shared some of the stories they had gathered from members of their community, highlighting how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected those dealing with cancer.

You can read more about how 2020 and beyond has been affecting those dealing with cancer via the We Get It Blog, and also find out more about We Get It and the support they offer via their website www.wegetit.org.uk or tune into their podcast.

Maya

Note: Due to a few glitches with the audio, there are no subtitles with this audio story. However, Maya kindly provided her words below, her story and her performance.

“Um I’ve just shaved my hair today, I don’t know how it looks but…um It kind of like signify… (laughs) got some thumbs up uh it kind of signifying  change and letting go um it’s actually been the first day that I’m able to I don’t know, feel kind of happiness because I’ve been grieving, a friend of mine recently ooh trying to keep it together, commit suicide and he was living with me, so… I guess it’s a… I’ve a ….Over the last lockdown, I actually created, I’m a music producer, I make beats and Sony had tried to sign me and so it’s been going back and forth. To this day, I’ve produced over 3,000 beats and sorry…. Thank you so much guys… uhhh…  you know when you’re like amped and ready to like go and you have all these things that you kind of preconceived and suddenly sadness or tears that kind of just uhhh I’ve just been making so many things, as well as a producer, I spit bars and I freestyle quite a bit and I write poetry, and I dance and I just love dancing. I love being able to express myself. So something like grief it’s really hard for it to flow because sometimes it feels like you have to be strong for other people as well and in my group of friends, I’m kind of like the oldest um so it’s kind of like the matriarch and I have a  habit of like giving before I kind of tend it’s like a afterthought tend to my own needs, but I’ve recently I’ve kind of like been a hermit and just producing like honestly toot my own horn but they’re really sick beats. I tend to make like trap beats, like Hip Hop and like I’ve been producing, I’ve been ghostwriting for a while now. So there’s quite a lot of artists that you’ve probably heard of on the radio. Some of my beats are played everywhere but this is something I kind of decided that you know I need, I need to do it for myself. I need you know. It’s the same for dance, it’s like being able to just like, like not specifically say it all out loud but just to like, I don’t know. We were doing an activity earlier which was like experiencing what it feels like to be in the body and where it is um and I suppose with isolation and lockdown especially it makes it harder to, to um connect to community, So this is really amazing to be able to like  connect and in a very like lockdown friendly um but I’ve actually written um a poem as well um you just have to imagine it’s like a 4/4 beat like … like that… that’s what I had in my mind when I started making it. 

My friend was struggling with psychosis and it was really hard to get him help and the major part that was really like painful for me was the fact that I couldn’t help someone that was kind of like it had it in his mind like he couldn’t receive it and as much as we could love people that like are really they find themselves really difficult to love. I still kind of loved him unconditionally anyway. So this is kind of talking about mental health especially during this time and yeah it doesn’t have a name because I wrote it today but um parts today and yesterday but okay….

Untitled
In one moment, I build the world within one verse, paint a picture with these bars, nourished by these beats, we take, like a dose, we syncopate,  And yet, the darkness feasts a piece of me, deny what truth is left, until what sits dormant within may become revealed. And we run around, fastening our seat belts, weeping, showing how our weakness, reveal our true selves…. in the evening, heaving, wasting time, saving face, a weight  in these lies, deny deny deny, until the paraffin liquidate the sedative, desolate elements evident to my ligaments, excreting any form of excellence, maybe it’s retelin, maybe it’s celexa, maybe it’s psychosis, maybe I’m broken, call it depression,  a host to anxiety, OCD, please let me breathe, feeding my disconnect, I try to collect, meditate, before I medicate. But I can’t swipe these empty feelings away, wishing image could replace my empty feeling inside, I’m just trying to live, I’m just tired to fight, and your affinity to attributes is very reason why I must prove my worth to you for the skin that I live in, ain’t it funny that we’re battling for peace, but we can’t seem to find peace with the things we battling with, because we are all human beings with primitive minds using civilised knowledge, systems down and yet we still won’t acknowledge it, that we all carry baggage, baggage like Frodo Baggins, dragging it until the day we have to go and sacrifice it in Mordor. Because in the end we compete against yourself, because we take what we’re given, but we’re never content always wanting more than the things we’re going to get, we seek for recognition of our blood, sweat and tears, yet this fear grows inside for the unknown, the unknown. 

Luke

Stacey

Lockdown 1

So many days
So many times
During lockdown 1
I thought I’d lose my mind

Aching head and aching legs
Jumping up for P.E with Joe
out of my bed

Silent screams on homeschool days
Fractions keeping me on my toes

Hour long walks and panicked stares
As we meet someone on the stairs

But then the birdsong
Loud and clear
Louder now for all to hear

Then the blue skies
Finally clear
Free of planes
and smoke and fear

Connections came and connections made
Via Zoom, and letters
And the packages we sent and made

Humanity stirred with love and compassion
Hope has formed
for change with passion

Lumie

Luke

Youth Connect

Members of the Youth Connect South West team conducted some informal interviews with some of the young people they support in Bath, and asked them the following questions about racism, the climate crisis and Covid-19. Here’s what they had to say:

Do you think there is racism in Bath? 

‘Yes – there is racism everywhere, no matter where you go. I’ve experienced this first-hand. I’ve been called a stupid Black whore on the bus, I filmed it, but the police did nothing.’ 

‘If you go to Bristol, you won’t see racism – it’s very multicultural. But in Bath, it’s very white. A typical white person will look at someone differently just because of their colour.’ 

‘I’ve seen someone be racist, because someone has disrespected them….so they’re being disrespectful back.’ 

‘I’ve got older Black siblings – I don’t think racism will ever end.’ 

‘A kid that was here earlier was called the N word.’ 

How would you tackle racism?

‘BLM made a very big impact. All these marches are happening, but people (in power) are using Covid as an excuse to not do anything about it.’ 

‘I think that people need to be educated more. Get people more involved in groups, to show we’re all the same.’ 

‘It starts from a young age when you start experiencing racism. They should teach more about racism in school, from year 1 upwards.’ 

‘Even when you have Black History month, you aren’t that informed. You don’t really hear about Martin Luther King. You might hear about slavery, but not about the person who abolished slavery.’ 

‘We should talk about the good and bad sides of history in school. You need representation.’ 

‘It’s the 21st Century, people should know it’s not ok to be racist.’ 

Climate Change – what is your view? Does it worry you? What should we do about it?

‘I think we need to do something about it, but I don’t know much about it.’ 

‘All of the big companies need to cut down a bit and stop using the sh*tty products they use.’ 

‘Get better transport for young people – remember the skyline that they were planning, get that to go ahead.’

‘We should reduce plastic.’ 

‘The scooters in Bath are good. They should be made more accessible for kids under 18’

Life in the pandemic – what should we do in Bath to tackle it?

‘I didn’t go out that much anyway. In the summer it was hard, as everyone wanted to go out.’ 

‘There’s not much we can do…’ 

‘It’s made everyone behind in school. Old people are blaming young people, but in the longer term the young people will be affected more.’ 

Schools shouldn’t have been opened. Different year groups should have been in on different days. They should have been told what to do, and then sent home to do it. 

Are there any groups in Bath who are treated unfairly?

Young people – ‘they don’t need to hate on us, just because we’re young’

How can we improve this?

Bring communities back together, do actual community things. Play rangers and Fun Days – when everyone was together. 

Even if it was Bingo with the young people and old people together. 

Anonymous

In December 2019 I went to my GP for help. I had begun my second stint in the Freedom Programme run by Julian House and felt at a complete loss about how this was still happening to me. Years of my life lost to the whim of a bully. Over the months that followed, she mobilised, contacting domestic abuse agencies, mental health services, filling in forms and writing letters for court. 

When Covid-19 stopped Freedom meetings, I continued to be supported by a domestic abuse worker from Southside and the mental health service by phone and received high intensity CBT for trauma from the NHS online. By April 2020, newspaper headlines exclaimed: Domestic abuse killings ‘more than double’ amid Covid-19 lockdown (The Guardian, 15 April 2020). It had only been three weeks.

My perpetrator no longer lives with me but he is always there. At every handover with my children, on every device, at school, at work, at home he is there with messages, remarks and cold shoulders designed to belittle and undermine me because he can’t use his hands to suffocate me anymore. When the radio announced another woman’s death over breakfast, my 10 year old said: ‘I know what Daddy does to you is domestic abuse as well’.

It took a month into lockdown for him to threaten me and for the first time I chose not to stand for it. We enter the second lockdown still going through court proceedings. He countered all my claims, accusing me of lying and abusing him instead. ‘They all do that’ said my domestic abuse supporter. To date, after over a dozen divorce hearings over 7 years, no Judge has yet believed me over him.

Unlike my English perpetrator, I have a Muslim name that tumbles awkwardly out of Judge’s mouth. I speak English like a native though it is my second language. I am a well educated professional white skinned woman with a good job, live in a house I own and volunteer. Yet I sometimes cannot afford food. Before lockdown I took leftovers of buffet lunches from work meetings home for my kid’s packed lunches but there are no buffets anymore. Ever present underneath my smiling zoom call face are worries about bills, court hearings where I have to represent myself because legal representation costs two months salary and my children who are also bullied but I can’t comfort because they were ordered to be taken away from me for part of every week by Magistrates who did not believe what the consequences of that would be for them, or me.

Jason

James