I am Human

** Warning – sensitive language **



I speak English, just like you. If cut I bleed, just like you. I breathe the same polluted air in ‘Mucky Leeds.’ Just. Like. You. You see me as a wild animal. You see me as a w•g. I’m not either. I’m a human being and I deserve to be treated as such. I came from Lagos, Nigeria, which the last time I checked was a British sovereign empire. I AM a British citizen.

I don’t care if I’m on Ward 8 at Menston Asylum. I don’t belong here. I should have kept my mouth shut about seeing lions with fishes’ heads. If I did, I wouldn’t have been labelled as schizophrenic and in need of treatment.

Other patients and staff are always fighting me. So I stand my corner by doing the worst damage I can. Even if its biting people’s hands or a cheek. Makes no difference to me. Just leave me alone!

I hate having treatment to subdue me. Electroconvulsive therapy, insulin coma therapy AND antipsychotic tranquillisers are what you treat me with. It’s like you are trying to kill the very essence of me. I’m a Yankee. I like to think I am.

God it stinks in here. When will they change those chamber pots? It’s also cold, very cold so I like to lay underneath the radiators for warmth. But the staff are always telling me to move on. Move on to where? Why does it bother you so much that I want to be warm in this stinking, dirty hospital?

No one has come to visit me. NO ONE. Can you imagine being the only Black person on the ward? Scratch that, the whole hospital? Am I really worth nothing? I don’t think so, that’s why I fight. Imagine being isolated and further isolated by no one treating you with dignity? I DESERVE dignity and respect, just like the next person. When I’m released from here I will make my presence known again in Leeds as a tailor.

I’m not sure how long I’ve been in here but it feels like a very long time. May be a couple of years? A couple of years of being called a ‘crazy n•gger’ is enough to break anyone.

Here’s me wittering away and I’ve not even said my name. My name is David. David Oluwale. Remember it.

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I come from…

I come from heartache, love and more heartache. Birth to a beautiful child.

I come from quietness, stories ready to be read and celebrated. Fired in your imagination and spoken inside.

I come from small round batteries. Ready to allow me to participate in the hearing world. Ready in case pen and paper are not available.

I come from a small town that I was not birthed in (Thank God!) Not always welcoming and frosty at times.

I come from an unlucky number which I’ve turned lucky. Lucky as I was born on that day, some time ago.

I come from love and affection. Murmurs of those close to me, calling out a name that brings back a memory of a DJ who couldn’t pronounce my name.

(Inspired by Bread and Butter by Jo Roach. Also inspired by Rommi Smith at the Peepal Tree Press Inscribe session today.)
Lianne Herbert

Mariah Carey is a diva…

(Not a writing related post) 

The doors opened at 6:30pm at the First Direct Arena in Leeds. She was meant to come on at 8pm. The lights were off as a DJ played some tunes. All of a sudden after trying to get the crowd going the flood lights turn back on?!

What’s going on here? Why are we waiting? Some people have paid loads for Mariah Carey to be here performing on the stage. If I have to wait more than 1 and a half hours I will be demanding my money back!

It feels strange having the flood lights on waiting for the concert to begin. It kind of ruins the atmosphere being able to see the audience at the other side of the arena. 

I hope she’s worth the wait as I’ve heard some not too good reviews after buying the tickets.

Maybe Mariah wants us to drink so that we forget the wait.

How much social media is too much?

As I’m writing this I’m thinking about the social media accounts that I have. WordPress, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Oh and a personal website. I’m not advertising them I’m just merely stating what I have.

I rarely use the Facebook page account as I’m still learning how to draw visitors to that site. Do people use hashtags on it? I don’t think so.

I feel that I can get too distracted trying to make connections on social media instead of focusing on my craft. 

As I have other commitments I’m not able to spend every spare minute on social media. People around me would find me rude. This means I’m sometimes on it when I should be sleeping. Like normal people do. 💤

So how many social media accounts do you have and are you managing them effectively?

Lianne Herbert

Taking a break

We all need a break from our creative pursuits every now and again. Be it going for a walk or meeting up with friends/family. 

I’m currently at the gym, ready to go for a swim. Taking time out from writing will help fuel my writing. This is because another part of my brain is stimulated whilst my creative side takes a break. 

It may seem obvious but how often do you stop to take a break? I mean actually force yourself to take one?

I’ll get back to reading/writing after my swim. I’m sure my brain will still absorb my surroundings and somehow come through my writing. A writer’s brain never truly rests. Even when you’re sleeping!

What activities do you enjoy as your break?

Lianne Herbert 

Don’t let your disability hold you back!

As you may know I’m on a home study course to do Copywriting. I made the error of signing up without asking if there are any materials that I may not be able to access because of my disability. 

My disability is deafness. Deafness varies from person to person so I can only speak about my particular needs in detail. I need to be able to lip read or have subtitles if there are videos or podcasts. How can I lip read with a podcast you say? By asking for a transcript so I don’t have to struggle guessing what the podcast talks about.

These are a few ways of supporting a deaf person like me. I’m grateful that everytime I ask for help the college has been able to allow my needs to be accessed. 

How has a college or university helped your access needs? If they haven’t why not?

Lianne Herbert

Freelance writer

I’m wanting to be a freelance writer. Last week I did a Princes Trust Explore Enterprise course on how to run a business. It was very informative. Plus I met likeminded business people.

It made me realise that in order to be a professional writer I would need a regular income. Part time job or other skills I can freelance with.

I’ve decided to become a copywriter part time. I’m currently doing a course to help fulfill this ambition. I look forward to learning new skills again!

How have you supported yourself when first starting out as a freelancer?

Lianne Herbert