‘Tigger’ – The Leper with a Rather Large Bell.

The wonderful thing about Tiggers is I’m the only one. Tiggers can bounth but can they bounth back from the stigma and the label of the social leper/criminal. Tigger is unique and then aren’t we all.  We/I am firm believer that everyone is entitled to their own views and opinions as it is all part of what makes up what we call ‘The Self, The ID, The Ego’ without it we are nothing and it is a continually evolving entity. 

I’m still buzzing from the BSC conference and the wonderful responses and support of and from new friends and the great and the good. I was walking around Belfast in the morning with the earplugs in listening to George Ivan Morrison (Van Morrison) and was so proud of myself and what I’d done. I’m home and even though I came home with my head hung low and my proverbial tail between my legs. I’m pleased with my ‘self’ he’s worked hard improvised adapted and overcome and looks forward with hope, sailing along nicely, letting the anger go replacing with the love and support of immediate family and some old friends. 

When I was in prison I always said to my ‘self’ and everyone else for that matter, “never get comfortable, never let your guard down as something or someone will nearly always creep up and mug you. I had the wind blown out of my sails twice yesterday. First a letter for funding by the main UK Academic Funder for ex-prisoners.  Second was a statement relayed to me by my dear brother.

The funding issue is a kick in the teeth as it seems I am ‘not’ the only one and there are a record number of applications and we look forward to helping you in the future, same as last year. This made my gut tighten (not a bad thing) and I quickly shrugged it off as a minor setback but when I thought about it more I got a bit mad. The future is all well and good but I can’t get to the future without sorting out the present.  Thanks a bundle!

Second during a lovely couple of hours with my wee brother (he’s not that wee actually)we were discussing what I my ‘self’ wanted to do and he hit me with a statement whilst getting out of the car ‘nobody cares you know.’  My stomach went into a knot again and asked him what he meant. The response has still got me mad. He told me he was talking to a guy we both knew when we were younger. I was told that this fella had met my brother and that he told him that he didn’t want to get involved with me because of the label, the stigma attached to me being a criminal. The beauty of what was relied to me was that I’m still mad.  This has nothing to do with my brother we sat for three hours talking and laughing and contemplating out futures (look out, he’s doing criminology also and we hope to sow some new perspectives in this lovely world of Criminology and Psychology as we can’t seem to find our place in the current discourse). I’m mad because of hypocrisy – the last thing a remember about this particular fella was of him punching away at my head during a drunken argument and I told the rest of the ensemble to ‘get him off me before I lose my temper.’  He was like a wasp, irritating and causing short sharp pain but in the grander scheme of things…well we all know what happens to wasps if they get too close.  This guy was an acquaintance and someone who I shared a small part of my life with.  Where’s he been for the past twenty two years?  Where’s he been in relation to my ‘self’ in the past?  Nowhere is where. What a twat. I do get it but I will use the words of a Dr in Criminology ‘Fuck em!’  or in the words of Mickalene ohg Flynn (The Matchmaker)in the ‘Quite Man’ – “He says he doesn’t give a shhii, he says he doesn’t give fffuu… he’s completely indifferent to the matter.’

How has MY ‘self’ righteous indignation been ameliorated? I went into the Doctors surgery to register and had to tell the receptionist I’d been working overseas and I didn’t have any medical records. There were four people in the waiting room who could hear everything. This sweet lady gave me a couple of forms to fill in and I ensconced my ‘self’ in the corner and filled out the forms. As the lady was typing in the completed information the last person left the waiting area, there was girl hovering outside the door on the phone (thank God for phones), I seized the moment and told the lady I’d just got out of prison and I didn’t want to divulge this information in front of other people.  What happened next knocked me for six.

This ladies whole demeanour changed , but not how you might think, certainly not how I thought her whole face changed into one of sympathy and apology.

 “Oh Son I’m so sorry, please forgive me.” I smiled and reassured this dear sweet women. She then changed tack completely and tried to hold my hand under the slatted glass.  She looked right into my eyes like my Mum would and said “how are you? Are you OK? Do you need anything now? Do you want to see the Doctor now? If there is anything you need morning or night before your appointment next week do not hesitate to come in and see me or ring this number day or night. If you ever want to talk just give me a nod and we’ll step into the wee room round the corner.”

For once ‘I’ my ‘self’ couldn’t keep up. the girl with the phone came in and saved the day. There was then a flurry of activity from the lady and she said “are you going to be OK.” I told her I’d be fine I just needed to register.  We parted and I smiled inwardly and walked across the main road to see me Da.  The surgery is a couple of hundred yards from where the old acquaintance used to live and a two minute walk from where I now live and I stood there, outside, for a moment and processed what had just happened.  My ‘self’ had  gone from Leper to Losing the Lepers bell in the space of an hour and within the physical spatiality of a few hundred yards. As a result I buonthed up the stairs to my Da’s flat and have woke up this morning with a bounth to my step. It’s already a glorious day and the wonderful thing about tiggers is ‘I’ am the only one.  

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About micsirwin

I'm a Postgraduate student at Queens studying Criminology, writer, poet and lover of integrity, dignity, respect and morality
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