It all started with a small advert seen somewhere. Someone looking for someone of their own kind to share a living space. A perfectly legal choice, a financial arrangement between two adults, nothing to do with me really. But some days it feels like everything in the world is my business.
Is it because I live in such a black and white world that this left a somewhat bitter taste in my mouth? Or is it because it was like a mirror of my own attitude sometimes, bringing an image to the surface that I didn’t want to see? The one who makes quick judgements and aligns herself to some group, some causes, and not others. Because no matter how hard I had tried to be a good person, underneath the shell of contradictions I could see that throughout life I had surrounded myself by others of my own kind.
When my daughter was diagnosed, I had vowed not to turn our lives into a ghetto. I wanted to have friend whose children were neurotypical, as well as friends whose child had SEND (special educational needs and disabilities.) But I found out, as time passed, that our lives had a different pace and flavour to them. It was difficult to keep the connection open between those worlds, whereas, with friends of my own kind, it felt effortless – like we shared a common language.
And politics? My Facebook feed is full of status updates from Remainers, liberals and anti-Trump friends and acquaintances, strewn across the world, many with an appetite for a more equal and open society, which I share. My friends are of my own kind.
Every morning on my way to work I pass a street where many homeless people spend the time, taking shelter in the entrance of shops, trying in vain to stay warm and safe. Human beings whom I sometimes approach with a small gift of food, a smile and a shy ‘good morning.’ But it feels like a drop in the ocean, because our lives are so different, and I know nothing about the rocky path that brought them there. Because I cannot solve every problem of the world, nor carry the weight of the world on my shoulders.
And so I make my New Year resolution to try and stop putting people into boxes. To remember, like Jo said, that there’s more that unite us than divide us. To live holding this truth dear: that we are all humans of my own kind.