I am constantly seeing comments about ‘losing my faith in humanity’ when someone makes a dumb comment on Facebook, for instance, or a kid says they want to be Kim K when they grow up (a perfectly acceptable goal in 2019 TBH…) But I have always tried to be an optimistic light in the negative cave of life- we all say stupid shit now and again, so there’s no reason to hate on that. Even when someone is saying something quite horrible- you don’t always know what is going on behind the curtains or why they say these things… I have tried to stay positive in life, with a feeling inside that everything will be OK in the end: everything happens for a reason.
A school teacher seeming to pick on me, or treat me unfairly? She could be having a really shit time at home. The same as I might lash out at my mum or a boyfriend when I’m having a shit day. I had never got to that place of feeling that people are truly awful: it’s more that people just do awful things.
But growing up, you start to consider that everyone is not necessarily good inside, and don’t have others’ best interests at heart. I started to question the world bit by bit: when a friend suggested that they would OF COURSE take money out of a found wallet; when people I had grown up with, or known for years came out with racist views… It made me question things a lot. How can so many people around me have such selfish or hateful opinions? People with equally ‘good upbringings’… But I still felt that people were good overall. Even when a colleague of mine recently said: “for every good person, you get 9 dickheads,” I still I did not believe it. And it wasn’t until a week ago that I truly felt that I had ‘lost my faith in humanity’… and it wasn’t over a stupid Tweet…
As many people know, I and a lot of my friends work in bars in Brighton, and so we often talk about the mad shit we have to deal with (here, here and here for instance). But the story she told me was on another level to your average “I served this drug dealer and he was weird” kind of story. It shook me up…
Basically a homeless guy had died of a heroin OD. He was fitting, half inside his tent in the street, and died with 7 needle injections. This happened outside the pub where my friend works… As the homeless man died, regular customers from the pub stood outside watching, laughing and recording this man having fits and slowly dying.
It should be noted that an ambulance was of course called, but the man sadly died.
When my friend told me this story, I felt so angry and genuinely shocked that people could consider this an ok thing to do. It really got to me: how can you not feel some sort of emotion for this clearly troubled man who lost his life; but to laugh at him or video him instead? A man struggles with addiction, sleeps rough and suddenly he isn’t a real person anymore? It is no longer a person that is dying, it is a joke to some people: something to laugh at over a drink. That is truly disgusting.
And so I lost my faith in humanity.
By no means do I think that this is how all people are like, but the fact that a group of people passing by- sitting in the pub, all thought that filming this poor man was an acceptable thing to do- it shocked me, and I have not stopped thinking about this since my friend told me a week ago.
When someone has an illness: be it a mental illness or condition of sorts, we look after them; feel empathetic for their situation. But as soon as it’s an addiction, it’s ‘their own fault’. The same with homelessness: society doesn’t look at these people as human beings. It’s as if they are a dirty part of the scenery: especially in Brighton where there are such high levels of homelessness. They’re just something to comment on, but not care about.
Today as I started to write this piece, I was googling ‘losing faith in humanity’, to see what others were saying, and came across an article that was a bit of a slap in the face to be honest (and was exactly what I needed):
“To shift blame on others and to belabor the “downfall of humanity” by way of any number of things misses a crucial part of this picture: that you are humanity, too. And we are all responsible for the shape of our planet and the state of our world. To point fingers and blame others is to rid yourself of responsibility.”
Although this point is more targeted towards those who are suggesting their ‘loss of faith in humanity’ comes from celeb culture etc., it did make me realise that I am not a shitty person, but I can be horrible sometimes. I also realised that I shouldn’t base my view of humanity on a group of people that did a horrible thing. I am human, and make mistakes just as this group of people, just as the homeless man, so I can’t start pointing fingers as ‘The change starts with you.’
The HuffPost article stated that we should ‘be the damn change’, which kind of shifted the anger in me. Don’t get me wrong, I am still disgusted by the way people can treat one another, and I will have this anger about this situation in me for a long time; but it just means I need to prove to myself, and the world that not all people are like that. I need to be the damn change.
This means that I will continue to try and be the best version of myself; loving and kind to others and being the change I wish to see in the world. To be honest I think that is the (very simplified) key to a happy life: being as loving and nice as possible.
Thanks for reading
Header photo by Flora Westbrook