Tell me if any of this rings a bell for you:
I’ve become intolerable even to myself.
Knowing the truth doesn’t mean that other people agree with me.
I’m disappointed that other people aren’t as critical about what they hear, and about their own responses.
I keep hoping that whatever the next “thing” is will help us all snap out of it.
I’m a bundle of nervous energy, never feeling rested.
Any optimism I have feels easily squashed.
I feel like I’m fighting against people who even mostly agree with me.
This is all 100% intentional, and it’s working.
It’s not just you. It’s because there’s an active conspiracy against the United States, and it’s taking its toll.
For every societal or personal weakness we have, there is someone ready to exploit it. Whether it was set up by people with primarily racist or patriarchal aims, whether it was set up by our own oligarchy, or oligarchies of another country, it’s intentional and purposeful. (Notice I didn’t say political aims– all these things are political and religious aims, too.) Whether simultaneous or in lock-step over time, our society, culture, economy, and government has been hot-wired and re-routed. Those doing the things have easily pointed their fingers at the victims and said, “See? We told you they were bad. They’re doing it to themselves.”
It’s not lost on me that the majority of our problems come down to a quintessential sibling argument where one person (usually the stronger party) takes our own fists and smashes them into our face repeatedly and taunts, “Stop hitting yourself! Stop hitting yourself!” That’s some biblical-level shittery and disfunction, and it’s the everlasting tune of abuse of power.
Standing in the doorway to December, knowing all of this, having watched it play out like some C-grade political thriller which gets repurposed as the latest franchise and makes film studios guaranteed bank, despite the droning predictability and idiocy of it all, is not a feeling of fullness or hope or opportunity. It’s a feeling of “I’ve seen this before and I hated it the first time. It’s not better this time around.” We’ve become bone-achingly numb to the stupidity and the violence of the plots. Yet again and again, we are in our seats, watching the show. Being the show.
I’ve lost faith in myself to withstand these things. I’ve lost faith in America to withstand these things.
I’m tired of feeling tired, and that doesn’t get solved, paradoxically, by giving up.
And so, for my very selfish sake, and for the sake of my goddamned country, I’m going to stop feeling tired. Because I’m going to feel tired no matter what.
I can either use my energy doing the thing, or avoiding doing the thing. One of these actions has the power to change something outside of myself. One doesn’t.
I’m not one to decide to run a marathon because it’s a thing I can likely, with hard work, accomplish. I have no drive or desire to do so. But this is my marathon, and I’m going to begin again to act like it. I can’t get caught in self-reflection or self-doubt, because those things will surely keep me from doing what I need to do: putting in the steps, putting in the miles, seeking reinforcement.
What I’m saying is that democracy is fucking exhausting but the alternative is soul-death and if democracy under threat already feels this bad, imagine what even less democracy will feel like.
I refuse to feel like outcomes are inevitable– both bad and good ones.
I refuse to wake up every day exhausted by myself and those around me.
I refuse to spend my time fighting against the awful without giving myself the pleasure of envisioning the great.
My hard work is not punishment, it’s a promise
At the end of all of this (whatever the ‘end’ means and whatever ‘all of this’ encompasses), I know the only regret I will have is the time I’ve spent worrying and fearing.
This human experiment is flawed and hard, but also an opportunity for greatness.
That opportunity for greatness cannot be revoked. But we can choose to see ourselves as the recipients of that invitation, or bystanders.
I refuse to be a bystander.
Those who choose to make themselves big and keep us small use our own fear against us.
It’s all too big, too hard, we don’t know enough.
But what they count on is that we don’t see how fragile they actually are.
Because power gets lazy.
Because power isn’t as smart as it seems.
Because power relies on force, and then cooperation with force.
I refuse to cooperate.
I don’t expect that everything is going to be alright. It isn’t now, and it likely won’t all ever be so.
I expect that I’m going to be alright, because I refuse to believe that I can be stopped. That we can be stopped.
I’m not naive. I’m not optimistic for no good reason.
I’m optimistic for a very good reason.
And the reason is that I refuse to do our oppressor’s work for them.
Now accepting co-conspirators.