An Admission; A Good Ghana Cause and Experience; Thoughts on CoAuthor Jessica Phibbs and the Psychology of Victimhood

I am about to make an admission. What is that, an admission? There is more than one meaning but for the purposes of this blog it is a statement acknowledging the truth of something, for example, an admission of guilt. Its synonyms are: acknowledgement, acceptance, recognition, concession, profession, expression, declaration, confession, revelation, disclosure, divulgence, avowal, claim, unbosoming, owning up; rare asseveration, divulgation.

So I am owning up and unbosoming, disclosing and confessing that I am in love with the Sultan. Now the world may know him as the Crown Prince of Dubai – but to me, he is the Sultan. I am paying rapt attention to his comings and goings via the wonders of Google. Holy Cow (to mix metaphors). He attended a ceremony to celebrate high achieving students in his country and respectfully listened to others speaking. There was no translation so what the women were saying was unknown but he was in rapt attention. And these were women – definitely turned my head around with regard to Arab men and what I thought of disregard views of women. He is a poet, and although I have not as yet read his poetry I am exceedingly impressed with poets. I have my prose but poetry is King – using sparse words to convey so much emotion and feeling. The Sultan has hobbies including falconry, Now we do not exactly have that in common but one of the first books in the curriculum at London City University was H is for Hawk. I devoured that book.” H is for Hawk tells Macdonald’s story of the year she spent training a northern goshawk in the wake of her father’s death. Her father, Alisdair Macdonald, was a respected photojournalist who died suddenly of a heart attack in 2007. Having been a falconer for many years, she purchased a young goshawk to help her through the grieving process.”

Now the sheer adulation felt for the Sultan is not hurting anyone, not even him. Adulation is excessive admiration or praise; its synonyms are worship, admiration, admiring, high regard, respect, lionization, lionizing, idolization, idolizing, veneration, awe, devotion, adoration, exaltation, honour, homage, glorification, glory, praise, praising, commendation, flattery, applause; blandishments, compliments, tributes, accolades, plaudits, eulogies, pats on the back.

So the feelings of veneration, awe, accolades and devotion are helpful, not harmful and serve a purpose. It keeps my mind off less worthy individuals. Believe me there is no time clock ticking – having children is not something being contemplated at the present time. I have an active social life (to say the very least) so I am not pining away in solitude paying homage to the Sultan. I just can sit around and think of what a great guy he is and see how he inspires his country to be a technological giant, supports education of all and leads a run through the streets of Dubai wearing a Primark shirt. (The shirt part is a joke, my sense of humour constantly butts in).

But speaking of poets I had an interesting experience the day before yesterday. I was at ‘my’ Tate Britain and who should walk out in her usual stiff and distracted manner but the coauthor of In Contemplation and In Conversation: Companionship at the Tate Britain. As the Introduction acknowledges: “our differences proved monumental and we parted.” Efforts were constantly made to contact her about the book, they were ignored and when encountering her in December of 2018 – she fled without speaking to me. What did I do to harm her? I have had professional assistance in reaching the following conclusion. Some people love to see themselves as victims and Jessica is one of them, that is her modus operandi. The lure of victimhood is rather magnetic and ‘victims’ run, walk and crawl to defend their victimhood. It makes them feel important, rather like paranoid people who have a feeling of importance as they believe that they must be the worthwhile, otherwise, they would not be the target of such attention. But actually a victim is just a self made victim. Their failures are due to their ineptitude, not people that have it in for them, that conspire against them. It is sad – I was determined never to be a victim. My goal was to be the least effected abused person in the world. But after much therapeutic work I was forced to accept the fact that I was one once – as a child but I am not one now. One of the reasons why I am able to attract the attention of super rich men (even at my advanced age) is that I am NOT a victim but a proud, independent and feisty woman.

How did I take away Jessica’s victimhood? My efforts (largely mine) turned her into a published poet. How can one be a victim if your poetry is in a beautiful book? She definitely did the work and did persevere diligently and competently. The contrast between our work is striking – her poetry is very intellectual and high brow. Whereas my prose is fiercely emotional and personal at certain moments. Mine rather confessional, hers removed. I speak of my victimhood and recovery particularly in Parting at Morning. I went back to the Tate with the book this visit – sat and read and was again moved by the art and the idea. No idea at all why Jessica was there the other day. I called her name, said she was being silly and then that she was silly and paranoid. There is no reason that she cannot achieve greater fame for her work but she refuses to have anything more to do with the book or with me. Her self identity as a victim is so ingrained and established.

I briefly attended the Ghana Expo yesterday – looking around a vast room crowded with people. I suddenly realized that I was the only white person there – I laughed! My Canadian high school was so white – there was only one black young man in attendance. I guess I know how he felt. It actually felt fine, I was in such admiration for what they are doing. This was Stand No. 08. “Our Beauty Pageant – Miss Ghana UK is guided by two fundamental principles – Beauty with brains and Beauty with purpose. It provides a platform for beautiful, talented and intelligent young woman of Ghanian descent to gain and give back to the community while also growing in self-esteem, confidence and developing the ability to speak publicly.” That is NOT victimhood. The MGUK foundation was launched in 2001 and includes programs enhancing mental health and well being and attempting to eliminate youth violence. There is also a mentoring programme.

The photograph is the cover of the Tate Britain book, the one that Jessica coauthored.

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