Another gem from my very good friend May Thomson.
May has helped me through some very rough times and I can safely say I would not be here today if not for her kindness and strength of character. She is a true superstar.
Before I got sick
In my last job, before I got sick, I was a steward/security officer and stewarded rugby matches, football matches, security of property etc and some big gigs all over Britain.
I have met a lot of people from all over the world, folk like myself, others rich and famous, all walks of life including two royal gigs at Edinburgh and London - amazing experiences all of them!
One constant I always had in my work life, no matter if you the boss or my colleagues customers, all get treated the same and it applies to the rule set too:- i.e rules for each gig different e.g doing stage door if no pass I not care who you say you are not getting in, ask the drummer of Status Quo!Rick Parfitt had to come to his rescue at usher hall lol lol.
I was not superviser management, just a steward or so I thought.
Sadly we had a family loss and I was off work quite a while with the adjustments etc. On my return to one of regular football venues I had the most uplifting joyous experiences I could ever wish for.
A young supporter of the team I was stewarding for, his grandfather and his dad, wow he was a short little boy. I thought he was about 7 yrs old but then discovered he was 11. In my first week back at work this little boys granddad spotted me first he nudged his grandson gesturing to look up which this little boy did his face lit up with such joy let go his granddads hand and came running to me saying "your back!your back! I am so glad your back!" ( choke) with a huge hug.
Before this I had spoken to little boy a couple of times and knew his granddad brought him in as his dad not in till later as he was a landlord.
I asked the little chap why are you so happy that I am back? He said "Because I like you! You are always nice and you smile at me when I come in", wow that blew me away.
Till that day I thought I was just an average steward but that taught me so much. Yes I was one small part of a very large team but even my small contribution of carrying out my job correctly for the company I worked for to the best of my abitlies made an impact to the customers I served too.
This venue was also where young fans copied heroes, national football star putting feet on back of seats etc. The Scotland team got told same as the supporters coming down. One little boy said "Do you know who you just told off misses?" No, I replied. He said the players name and that he was a Scotland player. I told him yes well he's no different to you in these seats! So he gets told off too!! He thought I was so cool he really made me smile.
These interactions help build who you are today. Everyone I meet I respect and love till they prove themselves unworthy of it, and that applies to everyone. If it's in an official capacity I abide by the rules and I don't change.
I am no longer able to be employed but that does not mean I don't work. I just work differently and I don't get paid for my work.
Yes I write poetry which I hope helps others on difficult days etc or to say thank you for what others have done for me.
Behind the scenes I talk to people because I have crazy view points on lots of things that others find funny and helpful dealing with their issues etc, or to try to bring balance to issues etc.
But, even for me, life lately has been very challenging - from being taken seriously ill (life threatening), to humiliation, to husband having accident, to bad customer services which left someone normally so positive as me feeling useless and worthless i.e on benefits with finances not stretching enough etc etc.
I am not useless or worthless.
I am a unwell, loving, caring human being who has feelings and emotions.
I am really fed up that people like me become the enemy because of mainstream media and political agenda.
My accident happened at end of my working shift.
In our situation one emergency can take 6 to 12 weeks to recover from financially. We have to take a deep breath and start long slog back again.
The media portrays us as scroungers, lazy good for nothing individuals. I am not saying that some are like that but most of us were hard working people before our circumstances changed.
I don't claim for anything extra i.e fuel costs, hospital travel, car tax etc etc. What we get pays everything we can off. Our car? Well that is required not a luxury as my mobility is very poor and my husband visits his ill mum every 2nd week and is on emergency standby 24/7. We are not the type of people to claim and get everything we can. We claim and take only what we need. The basics.
The "work" I do now would not be possible if I was still able to work full time because what I do can be called for anytime night or day.
Unlike medical professionals, I don't have time limits.. If it takes 10/15 minute or 4/5 hours of talking to someone to help them through then that's what happens.
I don't have all the answers to every question because my knowledge is based only on my own experiences,
Even more so since my accident and losing my job. I thought my life was over.. I thought "what can I do now?" luckily in 2008 I discovered poetry which was to become my new path.
Most of my "work" i.e poetry, talking to others, sharing my own story etc is how I help and give to society today.
A few years ago I was called "Benefit Scum". At the time it really hurt and enraged all the normal feeling of a loving, caring human being, and felt like being kicked in the teeth.
But it did make me look more closely at myself. Firstly were they right? After much thought the answer was No, I do not take take take and give nothing back.
I have offered talks to medical students, law students, police trainee’s etc. The fact they choose not to take me up on my offer is their loss sadly.
At 55 yrs old and unwell I would see myself as useless and worthless because I am at the moment unable to make my own living.
Well nothing could be further from the truth! I have purpose! I have hope! and... I have a dream!
All of thid because I have the most valuable ingredient of all..
I have LOVE.
May Thomson 2017