Robin Hood WIP diaries (6) - Survivor

Most of you have noticed the description on my tumblr profile: It says “reader, writer, survivor.”
A few people have asked me what it is that I’ve survived, although most get it without an explanation. First of all, I haven’t survived. I am surviving. I am trying to survive. Some days I succeed.

Second of all, here is what I have survived so far: everything. Loss, persistent depression, more loss, tough bullying, emotional and physical abuse, a severe eating disorder, heavy medication, false friends, years of staying in bed, attempts to destroy myself, extreme failure. I might be forgetting a few things, but believe me, again, when I say: everything. Can you imagine it? I’ve experienced it. And, so far, I’ve survived it.

Have you ever stopped to think about it? This world we live in, rewards everything but survival. It rewards beauty, strength, talent, skill. It rewards winning and success. It rewards money above all, of course.
But it doesn’t reward surviving. 
Surviving is something you’re supposed to do on your own, right? At least, after you’re 3 years old or something. They let you loose in the word, and it’s what you do above and beyond surviving that counts. But what if survival isn’t a given for you? What if you have to fight to survive, before you can even think of succeeding, excelling, or prevailing?
What then?
Here are 2 examples I came across recently:
1. Ariana Grande’s (second) Manchester concert.
I’m sure everyone saw the little video, where people who had been hurt in the previous concert by the terrorist attack walked in. Everyone stood by and clapped. Why? Because they survived. Because they came back. That alone was reason for celebration.
2. Room
When I read this book, I thought it was one of the most poorly-written things I’d read in a long time. BUT the story is real. I have watched countless documentaries about kidnapped girls who were forced to live in a man’s basement, or a hidden room for more than 10 years. In one of those stories, a man kept 3 different girls in 3 rooms of his house. One of them had a child, a little girl.
Finally they managed to escape, and their ENTIRE NEIGHBOURHOODS had parties all day and night long for DAYS (another reason why I hated this book, it was so cruel and… wrong.) 
Then they got back to their school, because they had been kidnapped when they were 14 and never graduated. Now they were 24, one of them a mom. The schools named them honorary graduates, they accepted them to the colleges of their choice, and had a huge ceremony to give them gold medals.
Yes, like Olympic champions. Exactly like that. Why? Because they survived. And they got out. When everyone thought they were dead and lost, they survived and came back.

Which brings us to Robin Hood and his legend. In my Robin Hood story, there are boys as well as girls, all of them fignthing for justice, for food, for freedom… 

Fighting for their lives.

My Robin Hood story is above all, a story of survival.
His friends’
The people’s
The King’s.
They make mistakes, they almost get killed a lot of times (some of them, actually do get killed.) But most of them survive. Day by day. Some nights there’s no food in their stomach. Most nights. But so far they’re alive.

 R O B I N    H O O D    W I P    E X C E R P  T  -   

                                 L E F T     H U N G R Y

“In the name of the king, I declare that no man was left hungry this day!”
Following this robust claim, cups of spiced ale rose towards the starry skies, while sparks from the fire illuminated the five faces of the people sitting around it in the deep, dark forest.
“I’ll drink to that!” two of the voices replied, in various degrees of excitement.
“What about the women who were left hungry?” Hood’s voice said.
“Yes! And what about every other night?” John mumbled. Robin knew, without having to look at his expression closely, that he was frowning. Again. “What about all the other nights we go hungry to bed?”
Robin sighed and brought his cup back down to rest on his thigh. “There’s no pleasing you men,” he whispered, looking away from the flames, and downed the whole thing in one gulp.
“Again, no mention of women,” Hood spoke again. She sounded more and more annoyed by the second. Excellent.
“I’ll mention you, sweetheart,” a disembodied voice said, somewhere from behind Robin. Tuck. “Drink to the lady’s health, you oafs!” He raised his cup and drank deeply, as usual.
©2017, M.C. Frank

They’ve found a way to stay alive, and not only that. To fight back as well. 

Because, in the end, when things are that rough, that’s enough: to stay alive, and to come back. To fight another day. 
Do they win in the end? That’s a question that requires to define “winning” first. In the 2 examples above, winning was staying alive. Mission accomplished. But, of course, Robin has set himself the task of rescuing others as well. So, does he accomplish that?
You’ll have to read the book to find out.
But the truth is, you can’t rescue other if you’re dead. You have to stay alive. And to keep staying alive, in order to do something worthwhile with your life. 
So, here’s to surviving!

(Robin agrees.)
And to whatever comes after that.
As some of you may know, I live in a country that is suffering greatly. Two nights ago, a few friends and I went to a shelter for homeless people to serve them hot plates of food. All kinds of people were there. Old guys, their teeth falling out, but still smiling their wrinkled smiles. Gorgeous young guys, who would have looked swoony if their clothes fite better, but they were so skinny they looked like a wisp of wind could blow them away. Young moms clutching their kids, nice old ladies who can either afford to eat or pay rent, but not both at once. One man said that whenever his employer paid him (about once a month, instead of every day) he bought food for his family, and he himself went out to the garbage cans to find something to eat. My heart ached for all of them.
But at the same time I knew that I’m in need of rescuing as much as they.
I may not be hungry right now, and that’s only by the grace of God, but I’m sad most days, and some mornings I can’t get out of bed.
We all need rescuing, and we need the kind of rescuing we can’t do ourselves. We can’t save ourselves, that’s the truth. We can help ourselves, and change our attitude, but saving… That requires outside help.
And it requires us to ask for it. 

Are we brave enough to do that?

My book is dedicated as much to Robin as to my own country, suffering under an oppression and injustice as great as Robin’s was at the time when people desperately needed a hero. Did he really exist? No one knows.
The need for him did.
It still does.
That’s why he came back to life inside my head.

 R O B I N   H O O D   W I P   P L A Y L I S T

3. Playlist: 
  1. The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance
  2. Gangster’s Paradise by Coolio
  3. Be Mine by Offenbach
  4. Couldn’t Believe by Broods
  5. Sound of Silence by Disturbed
  6. Lady In Black by Uriah Heep
  7. Everything I Do by Brian Adams
There are sooo many more songs, you can see the full playlist here. Let me know if there’s a song you think I sould add :)

  • mcfrankauthor:
“ mcfrankauthor:
“  R o b i n H o o d O C b y M . C . F r a n k   This isn’t the official commissioned portrait of him, but as a sketch, it’s pretty close (I made it myself, like it?). Can’t wait to start writing part 2 of the Robin...
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