I will tell you right now there is no scientific evidence to my words I’m about to say. I’ve been wanting to write this for some time due to my burning desire to express pen to paper and my general spirit. March being one my favourite months did not disappoint. I want to express what it’s like to live in a city you do not understand, where you feel misunderstood in general by your own growing pains. I find the two eventually meet in the middle and vibe goes yes I like this or no I’m getting out of here. I believe I can equate the grief illustrated by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her book to a very big majority of Birmingham. I breathed this air all my life so I’m ready to get in there:
Sometimes you want to deny you even exist in this world for various reasons that are to long list here. You look up realizing how small you really are in this brown green blue abyss they call a planet. There is a veil over your face constantly from cannabis smells on the top of North Birmingham buses to the low attended “art galleries” beneath our feet. We fear them naturally for not wanting to be bothered by anyone. Closing the door behind, you breathe out all those feelings and thoughts which you leave practically at the foot of your home door. Are you really happy here? Denying your not a big part of this city potentially leads you to possible material desires instead of roots that were established for your surroundings to grow. The disconnect within Birmingham and an individual whether native or foreign is not a personal one but a journey we all slowly realise over time we’ve meandered on. The next stage is truly a divided affair.
Possibly my favourite part about Birmingham. I’ve discussed at great length with family, friends and complete strangers about the overall difference between North and South Birmingham. East and West don’t count in this equation due to a middle structure of England that pushes them out of our existence at times. (I look to discuss this subject in great length on a different platform one day so watch this space.) Having traveled on the 11 bus route extensively through my college years, I learned a lot about my fellow brummies. How they communicated or didn’t, how they moved and how they didn’t. Anger or close to that is very apparent in the North. If we were all calculated up by our feelings or emotions North would be anger and South would be serene. These sort of anchors are nothing to be upset as it continues to make our city diverse; then again anger is not something we want to be up against constantly. While it is passing through our systems it influences our hand and eye coordination differently with litter being strewn across the central ground and out gazes set dead on our destinations. Thank good for Igers Birmingham and various photographers who show our city in the brightest lights before we are confused again . Why does Birmingham not love itself? The ultimate question – Why are we so angry at Birmingham or why is Birmingham so angry at me?
The if’s, the maybe’s and cigarette butts. Yes, where did it all go wrong for Birmingham? The answer is not one but many due to the multiple nationalities and cultures we have adopted over the years. The question has to be asked differently, thoroughly and then understood. I’ve seen interviews conducted on brummies before and I always felt the representation of the actually city has been poor through this media. There is a still a long way to go with representing the Birmingham imprint as of today. So many open and private discussions take place all over that I wonder if we ever get any of these done. We want so much for our city, we long for it to rise like a phoenix. Are we rising or have we already arisen? The jury is still out on that one and new tactics are needed to be created at a rapid pace to keep up.
This city can truly get you down if you let it. I know first hand with the community page I run, with the constant articles and media reminding us how in sync our Europeans cousins are. Escapism is normal here, it is a way of life. I experienced this for a big portion of my life and many can feel that pull towards obscurity and toughness that threatens to destroy you daily. Being depressed here is allowed but is extensive to point that actual respect and care is almost obsolete. The scales tipped so far the other side that regaining that heart again is an uphill battle. We need help, but finding solace in one another is also advantageous to our healing process.
Finally acceptance. Acceptance is not a concrete, done deal feeling. Acceptance for the Birmingham’s conscious can be placed in three difference parts:
- Accepting the fact that Birmingham will never be perfect but you also know you can survive here if you allow survival to be a main focus. What else is there to do right?
- Accepting Birmingham as this multi-faceted city which needs a face lift and a new reality chip. Trying to fix it in your own individual style and keeping it moving.
- Accepting that this city is not for you and you’d rather join a Northern or Southern clique and wash your hands of anything B or Midlands related.
The lines are never as straight as this put I can be sure that where ever you travel in this world the Birmingham imprint is marked on you like a baby to it’s mother’s breast. That is not to say people can say they know your from that area but we carry something else with us that many cities don’t have – kindness and crude humor.