I was at an incredible festival this weekend, run by the charity Coppafeel!, called Festifeel. And whilst I probably could write a whole post about how awesome the event was… that’s not why I am writing this post.
I’m writing because something unexpected happened. I went expecting boob chat and glitter but was forced to confront the reality of my charitable interactions. And, I have to say, I am so glad that I was forced into this confrontation, as harsh and as negative as those words make my experience out to be, it made me think, it made me want to be the difference that I want to see.
All thanks to Luisa Omielan.
Now, I am not going to lie and say I had heard of Luisa Omielan before, I definitely hadn’t and, to be honest, the main reason I was in the comedy room watching her was because I had 30 minutes to fill before B*Witched came on the main stage. BUT, I am so glad that those 30 minutes were taken up by her.
First of all Luisa is fucking hilarious. I was in tears within the first few minutes and could barely breathe more than once. Secondly, she gets important points across in her narrative. As much as she made me laugh, she also made me laugh at how ridiculous some of the situations we are in are (Brexit being one of them).
But the main reason that I am now a massive fan of Luisa Omielan is because of what she said at the end of her comedic routine, when her time was technically up. She started by saying “Oh I probably shouldn’t say this here, but fuck it. I’m going to”. And that’s when you know the real shit is about to be said. And it was.
She told a story about her mother, who passed away last year. When her mother was sent home to die, by starvation, it was during the sudden heatwave. And on the hottest day of the year her Mum was desperate for water. However, she couldn’t just drink some as she had become incapable of swallowing. Luisa called the nurse, who proceeded to come to the house and tell Luisa that she was not able to give her Mum an IV. Simply, because it was a Sunday and she couldn’t get permission from a consultant to give the IV as they had weekends off. Luisa offered to administer it herself but the nurse refused to tell her how to do it, because she would lose her job and licence. Desperate, Luisa went on Facebook Live, explained her situation and pleaded for someone to teach her how to administer the IV drip. Thankfully, a nurse saw the Facebook Live and told Luisa that she would come over and administer the IV drip but that no-one could know because she would lose her job and licence if people found out about what she had done. Yet what she had done was save a life. Luisa got another 4 weeks with her Mum because this nurse had rebelled. And how stupid is it that what this nurse did was save a life, and yet it was an act of rebellion. Doing the right thing should never have to be considered an act of rebellion. And Luisa pointed at the end, if that is what rebellion truly is then everyone should be rebelling. All the time. To do the right thing.
Luisa Omielan’s story hit hard. But perhaps what hit me the hardest was the fact that she made a very good point. As much as chatting about cancer, and throwing parties to raise awareness and support about cancer is all well and good, what the fuck is the point in doing all this if we don’t actually do real things that can make real differences.
Don’t get me wrong, Luisa was not trying to demean any of the amazing work that Coppafeel! and their volunteers do, I think she was simply trying to point out to people that there is always more that we can do and that there is more that we should do. Wearing the badge simply isn’t enough.
And its true. It is about time we stopped thinking that simply wearing the badge was enough… it is about time we did something real in order to create a real change. To do real things that make a real difference.
So, thank you Luisa Omielan for sharing your story, even if you hadn’t originally intended to share it. It has really made me think and re-evaluate what I am doing and why I am doing it and I truly admire the courage you showed whilst doing so.
Afterall, it is time to do something real.