Are we OK, you and I, after you voted to destroy my dreams?

I feel like someone has taken something dear to me, my identity, my connection to my continent, and they have killed it. If you voted Leave, I hope you are prepared to take responsibility for what you have done, and that you do not regret it. It is over to you now, to sort out. Some friends view my reaction as an affront. That I am ‘dissing” them. It is not. It is just that you have killed something that was precious to me. You have created a country around me that I do not recognise, which feels broken and insular. That was your right to do that, you voted the way you thought was best. And you won and I lost. But in so doing you destroyed something. Many of you are now regretting your vote. Save your tears, I do not want to hear them lest I scream in frustration at your folly. At least stand by what you have done. Are we OK with each other, can we overlook our differences? I hope so, but perhaps not quite yet, not while I am grieving what you voted to do, while I wake up in terror in the night, sick to the stomach every time I see a map of all the wonderful cities I am no longer allowed to dream of living in one day, not while I anxiously contemplate the future of my job, and the livelihoods of my friends. I no longer recognise this new land you voted for, and I do not really feel I want to remain here. My focus now is work for the country of my parents’, Scotland and to help secure its future as part of Europe. I am not at all sure I want to be part of this country that has a whiff of UKIP. So I hope we can remain friends, and that perhaps in a week or a month or so I can bear to read your timelines again. I hope so. I hope my anger and grief and fear will dissipate to the point where I feel relaxed around you once more. But understand my anger. Understand that your actions have shattered my dreams. Be mindful that my life changed on Thursday. At the moment I really need to be around people who understand how I feel so I can take comfort from them and get hope. That my anger ruffles your feathers is not a priority for me at the moment, so ignore me, for a week, a month, enjoy your celebrations, and let’s try and build bridges soon. But not quite yet. @artistofhull



66 comments on “Are we OK, you and I, after you voted to destroy my dreams?

  1. I am feeling exactly like you… Only i didn’t have the right to vote… I have been in this country for 16 years, and for the first time I don;t recognise it… I feel unwelcomed, I feel strange and insecure… And i have people telling me to suck it up and deal with it… Is this anger ever going to leave me?

      • For the first time ever today I felt really uncomfortable speaking Italian in public with the lttle italian girl I was with. Sat in a coffee shop, there were none of the usual smiles and a distinct lack of eye contact. Several loud conversations about the outcome of the referendum and immigration with looks my way. Goodness only knows what immigrants must be feeling, it was decidedly disconserting.

  2. You have written exactly how I feel. Sad and robbed of my European citizenship We have lived and worked in France since 2002 . How can we accept this as a fair vote when so many voters were sold snake oil and lies

  3. …..took the words right out of my mouth. I feel betrayed by friends and some family that voted leave. The reasons were all much of a muchness…most to do with immigration…I am tired of this answer, I am tired of their hate and distrust. I have no patience with their fears and stupidity. Claims that ‘they are taking our jobs, our homes’ so much hubris…non of it real. Those that scream, dont really want those jobs and wouldn’t accept those homes. The feeling of entitlement of some Brits is amazing. So many who choose not to do anything useful in school…who rebel against learning, then hate the world for their lack of education, their stupidity, their anger at their own powerlessness…brought about by their own actions. The writer of the piece above is kinder than I am, I wont be ready for friendship in a week or a month or a year, they have stolen my dreams and are no longer part of my world…I have cut them loose.

  4. It will take a long time, I think, for forgiveness. In my own family people believed the rubbish about Turkey joining the EU and so they voted leave. I was appalled. I am not sure when, if ever, I will be able to bring myself to speak to them again. I have been torn to pieces since Friday morning. I was afraid to go online and see what the result was as I had been feeling the day before that the leave vote would win. How can we go forward with so many who voted to remain and 28% who didn’t even vote. Cameron has so much to answer for. A referendum that should never have been called, tearing the country apart. I am just afraid.

    • I feel so close to you all – I have felt sick since last Friday, almost like receiving a phone call telling me a close friend of family member has died. Sick to the stomach

    • Its so sad…ties in with Bernie Saunders lack of a real WIN and the same for Jeremy Corbyn…where a clear right way forward is totally highjacked by who know who for god knows why!…so depressing and much as I try to understand and try to look on the bright side I fear it will be many years before some semblance of balance really reappears…if ever…this is how I feel at the moment…and its all about the terrible threat to the environment for me.

  5. Here in Wellington, NZ, I spoke to an English girl who was serving in the shop. She feels like she no longer knows her old country and is totally shocked that it could vote to leave Europe. She seemed genuinely upset. She’s been here a year, I have been here 21 and I feel like I’m watching an old friend die.

      • I too feel that this is akin to bereavement. I have recently experienced several sad losses of people very dear and significant to me. But – though it’s shocking to say it, I feel far more upset with this loss of our European identity than I do with the loss of my own dear people ….. at least one knows that we we all die one day – but THIS was not inevitable, but rather a totally unnecessary catastrophe.

      • This feels more painful than the bereavement following the death of close friends and family. At least we know that death is inevitable ….. but THIS loss was not not inevitable …. it was a totally unnecessary catastrophe, caused by dishonesty and self-aggrandisement.

  6. My wife and I were up in the middle of the night last night, going through the same sentiments, tears of anguish, fear, and lost hope.
    We know one or two people who voted leave, (though overwhelmingly our friends voted remain) and it is a challenge to face them at the moment. Will we be able to? I expect so, I genuinely think they were duped by the leave campaign and failed to look for the facts, though We ask ourselves if ignorance is a sufficiently good reason?
    It will take time.

  7. I am so glad that others are feeling the same anguish. I could not sleep last night such was my rage and grief. A few years ago an intruder got into my dad’s house and tried to beat him to death with a hammer – he was 82. Me and my family were catapulted into a nightmare world of suffering and hate from which we are only just emerging – I am feeling the same disorientation, shock and fury that people that I don’t know actiing from ignorance and hate have destroyed something precious and my trust in the world.
    Yet it’s actually the leave voters who didn’t hate that I find hardest to face, with their ‘oh you’re such a bad looser’ and ‘we’ll I’m worried about the future too’ and ‘what’s the rise of the far right in Europe got to do with us? ‘. And I want to scream do you not know the history of the second world war? Doesn’t the fact that the only people happy about this are Trump, Le Pen, Hose etc mean anything to you?

  8. Reblogged this on jeanetteford51. It says what I think too. I just can’t believe that so many people have been driven to a thoughtless vote which will destroy lives and livelihoods and now they are seeing what they’ve done and wishing they hadn’t done it. Most of all, it concerns me about the enmity that has surfaced between the people of this country. It should never have happened

  9. My feelings as well. A crazy decision. I knew we were in trouble when I heard one guy say he voted to leave because then we could handle our own wars.
    I am also annoyed when I hear people say that now the decision has been made we should unite to make a better country. Rubbish. Rubbish. The referendum has shown that there are massive divisions that will take generations to address. The political parties seem to have lost it big time. Boris J. and Nigel F. are a couple of dangerous and ruthless people who are very out of touch. They are selling us down the river.
    Europe will make an example of us. Hardly surprising. They’ve already started. No deals. No offers. No sweeteners. Their message is … if you’re going then get on with it. This will be a messy divorce.
    Oh … yes. I am now following you.

      • It is not yet cut and dried. Common sense may well still prevail. Maybe we’ll just have to sit on the European naughty step for awhile. Otherwise … we will just be stepping into an economic and cultural minefield. The resultant chain reaction could take us back to who-knows-what.

  10. I wrote this a week before the referendum. Now it has come to pass, and if anything I feel worse, an almost physical pain and real anguish, made worse by the racist nationalism it seems to have unleashed on our streets…
    ‘I realise I am suffering a sort of existential crisis about the possible impending Brexit. I have always been proud to be English, proud of being British too. Despite some terrible moments in the history of our relationship with the rest of the world, I have always marvelled that people from our tiny island have been responsible for so much that is interesting, exciting, revolutionary and creative in the world, responsible for so many scientific, medical and technological developments, so many works of literary and philosophical genius, political and legal structures, sports and sporting achievements. I have always been proud that whatever the political persuasion of those in power, we the people have often accommodated and welcomed those less fortunate than ourselves; those who weren’t lucky enough to be born in such a green and pleasant land, those who through no fault of their own have been afflicted by war, hunger, drought, persecution and economic hardship. Such generosity and welcome should be in our very DNA. No one on this island can truly claim to be ‘pure’. We are a mongrel people and always have been, and it is that that has been our creative, intellectual and moral strength.
    Our part of the European project has been part of that. Out of the ashes of World War Two, a war in which my Welsh/Yorkshire/Brummie grandfather proudly fought as a Commando in the Far East and was permanently scarred by his experiences, European nations came together and realised there had to be a better way than the previous 1000 years of almost constant war or the threat of war. We came together, and although not perfect, I felt reassured that my rights and my identity were greater than a nationalist perspective, and that representatives of mine could sensibly discuss issues that had a Europe-wide impact around the tables of Brussels. Boring and occasionally bizarre they may have been, but decent men and women, with decent ideals and objectives had a pan European perspective and were forging a common identity.
    I am European. I have grown up being European and part of the European community. I feel a commonality of interest with the other people of Europe. I want to be part of that community, a community which is outward looking, inclusive, and through strength of numbers and a variety of interests, seems to me have often come up with the best solutions to difficult problems.
    And yet, as the recent impact of war, conflicting ideologies and economic difficulties that have had a global impact have threatened our small island, our response has not been to sit down with our European allies and work out a rational and compassionate way of looking to solve these wider problems through a common front, but instead to retreat, to moan, to whinge, to claim special status, to look to halcyon times we can barely remember, and to consider drawing up the drawbridge and washing our hands of everything.
    Take immigration? Well – there have been minor peaks and troughs but Britain has basically surfed off the back of the European and global economic boom for many years now. The world has become economically global, and when it has suited us then cheap access to labour has been to our benefit. We’ve wanted and needed people to come and live and work here. I’ve also always liked the idea that I might one day take my skills and go and work somewhere in the EU, and many have benefitted from that freedom of movement. I grew up with Auf Weidesen Pet on the TV… Right now, perhaps more people want to come and live and work here than want to move away, but there may well come a time when things aren’t so rosy and what then? And of the people who come, whilst there will always be a few whose intentions aren’t so good (as there are in any community), we reap the benefits of the vast majority who want to work hard, contributing to our schools, universities, health service, factories, restaurants, banks, businesses and bring their own ways of thinking and being, making our island an interesting and exciting place to be.
    And yet now a sort of madness has taken hold. I don’t think the politicians arguing for Brexit truly believe anything they are saying. They are not acting in the best interests of the country or the people. They have stirred up hatred and misplaced nationalism at a time of economic unease and international crisis in order to to grasp power for themselves. If we Brexit, the country will continue to run, but we will have lost so much. We will have cheapened ourselves. We will have lost power and influence rather than gained it and we will have shown ourselves to be self-centred, petty and small minded. I will have lost so much. I will have lost part of my identity, and I wont be proud, I will be ashamed.’

  11. Thanks for writing this. I agree with every word. I am 63 and for me the European dream will never die. For me it is viscerally worse even than the day my husband died. Then I could look forward to things getting better, at least for me if not for him (although he was in fact already better than he had been by dying). This is immeasurably painful and – whatever happens – can no more be reversed than death can. (And, incidentally, now I read this through I even envy – for the first time in ten years – my husband for having died – sparing him from living to see the catastrophe – the singularity – that happened on Thursday.)

    • Oh I am sorry to hear this. I do understand what you mean. It is one of things that feel so awful as to be unbearable. I am hopeful it can be sorted out. Not quite sure how but it will be….

    • I feel exactly like you do- bereft, as though I have been left alone in the world, and sick to the stomach for my son, still in England. Thankfully my daughter and grandchildren are now in Finland and will remain EU citizens, but will I ever be able to join them? I feel the need for a physical support group, not just on facebook, as many of my friends hre in the new forest just don’t understand how I feel 😦

      • I understand exactly how you feel. I am hoping that faced with a stark choice of Freedom of Movement as the price to pay for access to Single Market and existing trade deals, the government will take it. If they do not, then the economy will be in a difficult situation. So it is hopeful you will still be able to join your family, and I will be able to spend a bit of my retirement, in the EU, just as Norwegians and Swiss do. Give it a few months, stay positive and I think sooner or later, a clearer, brighter picture might start to emerge that all are all able to live with

  12. Reid, you a great deal more optimistic about your forgiveness than I am about mine.

    People have never forgiven Thatcher for many of the things she did. By comparison with this disaster, the miner’s strike, even the Falklands war was almost irrelevant.

    I cannot see any reason for ever forgiving those who voted to abandon all influence in the greatest political achievement that the world has ever seen. I see no likelihood that I will forgive the lies and slander, the bigotry and the xenophobia that won this referendum. I worked all my life for the European ideal, and was proud to be a Briton in that role. Now I am disgusted with my countryfolk and not in the least in the mood for making friends with people who were voting on a question that was not on the ballot paper, and who had no faith in fact.

  13. Reblogged on “Random Thoughts From Commuterland”. You are obviously a gentler person than am I. Spitting mad is how I feel – for my children and (hopefully eventually) my children’s children.

  14. Andrew, hi. Thank you for expressing so articulately the thoughts and emotions of the despairing forty-eight percent. I look forward to following your blog in the future. Best wishes, Pam.

  15. Reblogged this on The World of The Teigr Princess and commented:
    I’ve been struggling for a week to put in words how I am feeling. If you know me on FB, it might look as if I have gone back to being my normal self, as if I have forgotten what has happened…

    I haven’t.

    Something feels wrong with my world,
    My little bubble that was enjoying being a part of a much bigger bubble. It’s as if someone has popped it and I see everyone else’s bubbles around me; it makes me feel scared and alone.

  16. I too feel just like this; if there had been a reasoned, informed, intelligent campaign and the leave vote had resulted from that, I could have borne it. As it is I do not know what to do with my anger. I am 74 and since my early twenties have worked towards a united Europe. I am a citizen of Europe and I feel as if this identity has been ripped away from me.

    I am lucky enough to hold dual nationality, British/Czech but I am horrified to see the rest of my extended family having to work out whether they can assume another EU nationality. Many of them can since we are a mixed group of mongrels but this is all so unnecessary, so heart-rending, and still so unbelievable……

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