In a nutshell, I’m a thirty-something, who after ten years spent either in conflict areas around the world or in a squat in Brixton, has entered a period of transition. This blog is about how we enter the abyss and come out the other end, more whole, human and happy. Please read more below….

The Journey So Far

So a bit about me and why I’m officially a girl in transition. When I was twenty-four I embarked on my first big, life-changing adventure – I travelled to Uganda, with the initial intention to stay there for three months before heading south and east, to South Africa, then South-East Asia and Australia. In the end I stayed in Uganda for several years, either based in its capital Kampala or travelling there regularly from London or Nairobi, Kenya as part of my job. I worked on the conflict in northern Uganda, raising international awareness of the plight of children abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army and trained to fight among their own communities. I took British MPs to the war-ravaged areas of northern Uganda, met the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni (and was lectured by him about how to engage in counter-insurgency – his choice of agenda, not mine), and lobbeyed the International Criminal Court and the United Nations Security Council to pursue all avenues aimed at bringing a peaceful settlement to a conflict which had continued for twenty years with very little international attention.

In 2006, I left Kenya and Uganda and returned home. I moved into a squat in Brixton, which was to become my home for four years, bringing with it a host of eccentric and colourful characters, a few all night parties, a whole lot of noise and the odd mentally unhinged neighbour.

Through my next job at a British charity and campaigning organisation I became involved with the Palestinian cause, travelling to the West Bank regularly and subjecting myself to the Israeli hostility and interrogation which is customary for any Palestine activist, and one element of the widespread humiliation meted out against Palestinians on a daily basis. In 2010 I left my squat in Brixton to go and live in Ramallah in the West Bank where I worked for a local human rights organisation. I didn’t manage to stay there long – as is common with international development work, the personal melded with the political, and both work and home life there could not be sustained. I had to return to London, because in my fluctuating state of anger, despair, guilt and insecurity (and I’m talking mental rather than physical) I was no use to anyone out there.

I’m now living with my parents for the first time in 10 years. Moving from Ramallah to the leafy suburbs of southwest London was a bit of a shock to say the least. But it was better than moving back to a squat with no natural light or central heating. After several months of resistance, and a month of yoga, meditation and healing in Thailand, my priorities have slowly shifted. I no longer spend my days trawling the job pages and reading endless news reports on human rights violations and conflict around the world – although I haven’t completely stopped these habits. My 2012 resolution was to be more creative, so that is what I spend my time working on – whether it be yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, dancing, baking, writing – and of course this blog, after many false starts and much procrastination, is perhaps the biggest outcome so far of this resolution. The journey has by no means ended, and although I’m getting better at knowing what I don’t want, I have a long way to go in working out what I do want. It is my wish that this blog will provide some answers to us all.

Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.

 Agnes De Mille. Dancer and Choreographer

Advertisements