Travel Uncategorized

I Am Not a Number

21st September 2010
The Mona Lisa (or La Joconde, La Gioconda).

Image via Wikipedia

The alarm clock is tuned to BBC Radio 4.  If I hear one more feature on benefit cuts, taxes, the Government, or even cricket, I think I may actually throw the radio out the window.  This is not the kind of stuff I want to wake up to in the morning.  Especially considering I live it.  I see the outcome of benefits and benefit cuts every time I look my bank balance.  I am on benefits.  They have their place.  I would like to be off them, though.  I am not going to comment on the actual statistics and numbers.  Other people have done that better than me.  I left my University Psychology course because of the stats.  I don’t like them.  I’ve never been one.

Every time I listen to a report that rattles off the statistics of people on benefits, I want to shout at the radio/screen, and I sometimes do.  That’s me, you bastard.  I am not a number .  And I want to work.  I’ve liked all the jobs I’ve had.  And I want another one.

I went to the jobcentre yesterday, and they asked for a number before they used my name.  I am not a number.

My name is Lorna.  I write things that aren’t numbers.  I am my parents daughter.  I’m a friend to many, and one man’s girlfriend.  One cat has claimed me as her human.  My favourite colours are purple and green.  I have an aversion to most vegetables, but I like spinach.  I’m not afraid of much, except bad stuff happening to the people I love.  And ferrets.  And vomiting.  Please don’t get me started on vomiting ferrets.  I love country music and subtitled movies.  I hate sirens.  I love to travel.  I’ve been fishing in Norway; I’ve watched German MTV in Prague.    I thought I was in the queue for the toilet in the Louvre, and ended up seeing the (very small) Mona Lisa.  I lit a candle in the Duomo in Florence.  I am not particularly religious, but I believe in my own benevolent angels.

I like looking at old photos, and I looked like Ugly Betty in my seventh grade school photo.  I’ve been doing that a lot lately, looking at old photos.  It’s a way to connect with the person that I am, in a time when others are concerned with my numbers, my income, my diagnosis.

Most people know that I am more than a number, client, customer, a file with a label on it.  For everyone else, there’s my voicemail.

I started this blog to carve out time for me.  Time between appointments and phone calls and home-visits with invasive questions.  My head has been so filled with so much official stuff; there is little room for me stuff.  This is that room.  Yes, I write about the wheels and my own access issues.  It is about the chair, but it’s also about the person sitting in it, and I have a lot to say.

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No Comments

  • Reply Bakbakee 21st September 2010 at 2:30 pm

    I really loved your post. I dont hate stats but I dont love it either.
    I completely get you when you say that you’re more than a number (s).
    Congrats on being freshly pressed.

    PS: I hate cricket as well.

  • Reply gigidiaz 21st September 2010 at 2:31 pm

    I absolutely love this post. I used to always listen to Morning Edition and other NPR programming in the mornings as a way to be informed about all DIFFERENT happenings in my community, country, and globe. It was a great way to wake up, note the past tense. Now I find myself going in my iPod, closing my eyes, and selecting a song at random to which I HOPE I’ll like waking up the next day (If I know what the song is before hand I’ll be annoyed it woke me up)

    “Some of us, we’re hardly ever here. The rest of us, were born to disappear. How do I stop myself from being just a number? How do I keep myself to keep from going under.” – John Mayer

  • Reply Mona Lisa 21st September 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Don’t worry… choose one whisky @ and relax.

    • Reply Jornal do Whisky 22nd September 2010 at 3:17 pm

      Hi Mona Lisa!! Tks for promoting my blog! How did you find me? Probably you speak portuguese so OBRIGADO!! Concordo plenamente com seu comentario.
      Grande abraco.

  • Reply I Am Not a Number (via Gin & Lemonade) « A Day in the Life… 21st September 2010 at 2:33 pm

    […] The alarm clock is tuned to BBC Radio 4.  If I hear one more feature on benefit cuts, taxes, the Government, or even cricket, I think I may actually throw the radio out the window.  This is not the kind of stuff I want to wake up to in the morning.  Especially considering I live it.  I see the outcome of benefits and benefit cuts every time I look my bank balan … Read More […]

  • Reply hopeingaza 21st September 2010 at 2:35 pm

    “I like looking at old photos, and I looked like Ugly Betty in my seventh grade school photo. I’ve been doing that a lot lately, looking at old photos. It’s a way to connect with the person that I am, in a time when others are concerned with my numbers, my income, my diagnosis.”

    it is an outstanding post. really.

  • Reply Steven Harris 21st September 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Right on!

  • Reply Ishana 21st September 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Brilliant post. We are not statistics, we are human beings. It is kind of sad that the only way we are recognized is as a number, as an insignificant part of a group. We are all individuals and we are all different, so why must we be assigned so many numbers? Social security number, employee ID, student ID, telephone number(s), all of it is just a way to ‘keep track’ of us.

    Your blog is your space. Your blog is where you can say “this is who I am, and I am more than merely a number.” A human cannot be classified so easily.

    Wonderful post. You’ve certainly made me think a bit more about identity. Thanks for that.

  • Reply panah hujan 21st September 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Ahaha. One cat claimed you as her human?

  • Reply The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife 21st September 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Great post; I loved your points. I never thought of how statistics and numbers could leave one feeling like just another blank face in the crowd.

  • Reply oscarbelmont 21st September 2010 at 2:57 pm

    It could be a message on behalf of many other people. It is on the other hand interesting that human being found numbers and methods to calculate using numbers. It is also interesting that we know how to evaluate many things with numbers. Other livings may not yet know numbers.

  • Reply broadsideblog 21st September 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Great post. As a journalist, I make it a point, in every story I write, to talk to/about real people. I agree that focusing on people-as-stats is lazy, demeaning and depressing.

    I blogged this issue yesterday, talking about how we define ourselves.

  • Reply joshsuds 21st September 2010 at 3:15 pm

    I like the way you’re able to express your frustration in an artistic way! Great post.

  • Reply She.Is.Just.A.Rat 21st September 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Bravo! A fantastic rant about something we typically just accept because “that’s just the way it is”. Being a number sucks…I was a number in university…at the bank…at work…everywhere. Let’s go back to being human…

  • Reply HavingMeTime 21st September 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Congrats on being freshly pressed! We definitely are all than just numbers!

  • Reply jo 21st September 2010 at 3:36 pm

    i am so emotionally attached to this post, because i have become a number, not by choice, but by force…if i am going to receive help, i have to be a number. the thought of the ignorance of some statistics is heartbreaking

  • Reply Anna and Her Biro 21st September 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Ah I totally know where you’re coming from with the whole benefits thing. It’s so dehumanising. I lost my job in the recession and was on them for a little while. It was such an eye opening experience and I hated being stereotyped.

    Keep blogging!

  • Reply Delorfnde 21st September 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Exactly! It’s the same at school. We’re just a number. I am GCSE Candidate 7123. Big deal! It drives me mad.

  • Reply The Gates of Lodore 21st September 2010 at 4:25 pm

    That sounds just like me…

  • Reply notesfromrumbleycottage 21st September 2010 at 5:07 pm

    I understand about not wanting to here the latest special reports. Sometimes we have to sink into what makes us happiest to remember those parts of us after the worst has happened to us. Keep writing, your words are strong and honest.

  • Reply rbjtimban 21st September 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Nice blog post. I’m not a number, too. And I dropped my maths subject during my finals.

  • Reply I Am Not a Number (via Gin & Lemonade) | WiN-abled Combo Investing vs. Problems + Help 21st September 2010 at 5:36 pm

    […] The alarm clock is tuned to BBC Radio 4.  If I hear one more feature on benefit cuts, taxes, the Government, or even cricket, I think I may actually throw the radio out the window.  This is not the kind of stuff I want to wake up to in the morning.  Especially considering I live it.  I see the outcome of benefits and benefit cuts every time I look my bank balan … Read More […]

  • Reply Summer 21st September 2010 at 6:01 pm

    I love this post !! 😀
    very well written!


  • Reply Sarah 21st September 2010 at 6:13 pm

    On behalf of all statisticians, I apologise! Although it’s really the fault of the people that (mis-)use the stats!

    Incidently, purple and green are also my favourite colours 🙂

  • Reply pritam 21st September 2010 at 6:42 pm


  • Reply sarahnsh 21st September 2010 at 6:54 pm

    I totally agree with your post, it’s amazing how much we are just a number with many situations.

  • Reply 3amazingdaughters 21st September 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Saw a movie once, a short that had the word “Creativity” in the title. It was simply a conversation set at what appeared to be an interview — two people on either side of a desk with one asking the other questions. Started out with personal stuff, answered with words, but as it progressed, some of the answers were just numbers and by the end, even the questions were just numbers until both people spoke numbers only.

    No, we are not numbers but we could dissolve into those easily if we don’t protect what makes us human. Bravo on doing just that. Nice post.

  • Reply misstaziamarie 21st September 2010 at 7:49 pm

    really LOVED this post!

  • Reply Jaleesa 21st September 2010 at 8:34 pm

    This just made my day! Great post!

  • Reply squarebrackets 21st September 2010 at 8:56 pm

    That was a really nice read (:

  • Reply Jim 21st September 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Summarized perfectly Lorna! …From Commenter #28

  • Reply KugelKaskade 21st September 2010 at 9:37 pm

    That was just…. wooow *-*

  • Reply lifeintheboomerlane 21st September 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Great post. Stats have their place, as do most things in life. The trick is to protect our humanity in the face of statistics, technology, and the huge stresses of modern life.

  • Reply THE NEW WORDPRESS TAG STYLE | Iwansuwandy's Blog 21st September 2010 at 10:52 pm

    […] I Am Not a Number […]

  • Reply girlonthecontrary 21st September 2010 at 10:57 pm

    Brilliant! Thank you for saying what quite a few people are feeling right now. And well done on resisting the “just a number” notion. Not everyone is brave enough to assert their humanness in the face of large entities such as government and corporations. Good on you!

  • Reply lastwordok 21st September 2010 at 11:14 pm

    I’m in a “chair”, too. I’m assuming you mean a wheelchair. I know exactly what you mean. I wish you the best.

  • Reply SENI MENULIS ARTIKEL KISAH PERJALANAN | Iwansuwandy's Blog 21st September 2010 at 11:16 pm

    […] I Am Not a Number […]

  • Reply James 21st September 2010 at 11:32 pm

    WordPress has saved this entire rant as a set of binary numbers in a database. Sorry.

  • Reply Matt 22nd September 2010 at 1:00 am

    Can’t say that I know what it’s like to have to wait for benefits in the UK but it isn’t any picnic in the States either. Had to take them for a year before they told me that I didn’t deserve them and that I had to pay them back. I don’t think you have anything to worry about, you know who you are and at the end of the day, that’s what’s important.

  • Reply cosmicbluerevue 22nd September 2010 at 2:34 am

    Greetings from across the pond. Nice writeup. Sounds to me like you need a turntable and few good records. Hopefully I can recommend a few soon. Check out my blog. Cheers.


  • Reply wordofsoia 22nd September 2010 at 2:37 am

    Brilliant Post.
    Congrats on being freshly pressed.

    I love how you also know that you are not a number and the things you have done do make you more than a number 🙂

  • Reply Mysteriousmystic 22nd September 2010 at 2:58 am

    I completely agree with you, Lorna. Congrats on your blog being freshly pressed. Ahhh, numbers numbers numbers numbers, so many numbers. It’s ridiculous. Why can’t people encourage, art, poetry, some culture, anything but statistics!

  • Reply twasfaith 22nd September 2010 at 3:08 am

    Witty and humorous. I love the part “my cat claims me as her human” 🙂

  • Reply Wids 22nd September 2010 at 4:15 am

    Hi, I love the way you write your hatefulness on “making human into list of statistics” concept. I am not considering it’s a new breeze, but it was written at its best performance.
    I am new with blogging world, and I found your blog as a very great example.

  • Reply elmer 22nd September 2010 at 5:38 am

    Blogging, its living in a world of 1 and 0’s….

  • Reply Imaginarium of Pau 22nd September 2010 at 6:53 am

    Wow. Amazing wit and writing. You should be writing a book. 🙂
    Keep it up! I love your point on this matter.

  • Reply rtcrita 22nd September 2010 at 7:53 am

    You most certainly are not a number. Not only do you not accept it, you proclaim it! I love that about you. This was such a good writing that I stayed to read some of your others. I like the way you express yourself and how easy it is to get what you are saying because of the way you express yourself. I will definitely come back often to read more of what you have to say and the easy and natural way you say it. Thank you for writing.

  • Reply clairela 22nd September 2010 at 8:09 am

    Yep, you are a person. A beautiful intelligent person, too 🙂 Thanks for this. I have more faith in the world that we can recognize each other as humans without listing us alphabetically or by number – the world will never be too big for compassion. Next time you have to give someone your number, introduce yourself (with your lovely name!) and then ask for their name, too. Start a trend 😉

  • Reply 451 22nd September 2010 at 8:41 am

    I am a number.

  • Reply Astrid 22nd September 2010 at 10:07 am

    Congrats on FP! Brilliant post. I really love it.

  • Reply SynLar 22nd September 2010 at 11:20 am

    You are correct, you are not a number. And don’t ever let anyone make you think differently.

  • Reply Sulfonix 22nd September 2010 at 11:27 am

    I truly agree. It really hurts to write your roll number on an examination paper rather than your name, and then search the newspaper for the number and not your name. Ugh. Numbers take away our self respect, our pride.. Kinda. Cheers!

  • Reply eurybe08 22nd September 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Nice Post! As usual I can’t help buy admire the beauty of the Mona Liza. Thanks for sharing the story.

  • Reply sayitinasong 22nd September 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Excellent post Lorna. In Britain we are very good at numbers and statistics aren’t we- I would sometimes say obsessed with them. A friend of mine who went to her (NHS) nurse this morning because of her asthma (which she has had, and has been on medication for, for the past 50(!!!!) years), got told by the said nurse that she does not have asthma because the precentage according to her breathing chart, did not indicate the required amount to qualify it as asthma. Where is the common sense???!!!

  • Reply Addy 22nd September 2010 at 5:49 pm

    I guess I shall be another “NUMBER” along with the other number of positive comments on your blog and one amongst the many “NUMBER” of people who like your post.. Really good..


  • Reply betweenblessings 22nd September 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Love your post. I feel like that sometimes, not just about being a number but that I am more than just an employee, mother or student, I am also Patrice.

  • Reply breez 23rd September 2010 at 3:22 am

    My tip is to change your alarm.

    But it looks like you’ve got a handle on my other suggestion – reject the world that counts humans, and count the things that make you human.

    Congrats 🙂

  • Reply Wallpoppy 23rd September 2010 at 3:22 am

    We don’t exactly get benefits when unemployed in my country but I think your entry speaks for various cases. I never quite understood how I always felt uncomfortable when customer officers ask me for my eg. application no., my ID no., the colour of my ID, it always makes me feel like I’ve lost individuality – I am labelled, classified, filed away /: Anyway, geat post, loved it. I’ll be looking out for future entries.

  • Reply It has stopped making sense. « Valerie 3rd October 2010 at 4:16 pm

    […] has stopped making sense. Brilliant post: “Focusing on people as stats is lazy, demeaning and […]

  • Reply hippie cahier 7th October 2010 at 11:44 pm

    >I thought I was in the queue for the toilet in the Louvre, and ended up seeing the (very small) Mona Lisa.<

    I loved the whole post but especially that line.

  • Reply Dude, Where’s My Passport? | Gin & Lemonade 14th March 2011 at 5:53 pm

    […] count the stamps and remember my journeys.  There was that time I was searching the Louvre for the accessible toilet and found the Mona Lisa instead, and the time I slept in a bathroom on another trip to Paris.  My passport has been with me in […]

  • Reply Marwan Harraz 22nd March 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Really liked the post! (Y) 🙂

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    […] I Am Not A Number Dude, Where’s My Passport? Kissing On The Stairs My Island Diaries Missing Pen: Slightly Dented, Still Loved Found Poetry […]

  • Reply Em Linthorpe 18th May 2017 at 1:44 pm

    YES! So much yes. And without getting too political in your comment area, I imagine a lot has become worse for you since 2010, as far as government policies have developed. I really enjoyed this, thank you for sharing it again 🙂

    • Reply LKD 18th May 2017 at 1:46 pm

      Oh, yeah. This is another post that needs an update.

  • Reply emfletche 18th May 2017 at 7:55 pm

    Beautiful words Lorna, and one to really make you think. Numbers are thrown around so easily but people are not numbers; people are unique, individual, stand-alone human beings. But the media and government policies and the so-called decision makers do not have the capability to separate the two.

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