Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Joyful Nihilist

It's all too big.

It's easy to feel right now that the world is ending, but that feeling is in some ways incredibly naive. The world has been ending for quite some time - by which I mean that systems of oppression and injustice have always existed, and the deep selfishness and anti-intellectualism of conservatism has always been there, and the religious right has always been dreadfully wrong, and the rich want to get richer, and whiteness yearns to preserve itself, and on, and on, and on. It's been like this. 

Right now we've got this... pandemic situation... which has highlighted the entire unholy mess. Communities plagued by inequality are hit hardest. People who cling to Evangelical nonsense trust their fictional white Jesus more than they do living, breathing scientists. Conservatives foment the hatred they've bred into the populace with shoddy education and dishonesty and racism and every other damn thing, every method of subjugating the people who seem to vote for them, anyway. 

Oh, hell. If you haven't caught on, I am just really, really done.

It's too big, and I'm done with trying to say this stuff in nice ways. It's beyond our capacities to comprehend, and I'm not bothering with the layers of politesse which have covered up my true opinions. My anger. It's so damned much, and I seem to have decided to live my life with integrity. Heck. 

I feel like we are really on the edge, folks. I know I am, and yet I'm deadly calm - I can't tell if that's a bipolar thing or a PTSD thing or simply a decision I've made to put things away. My husband goes to work, mask on, and I have the opportunity to worry about COVID, and I tuck that into a little box and type my overwrought romance. I spend some time with family, and I'm so happy to see them, and I'm worried, worried, worried, and I bury that somewhere under a giant rock, a label scratched on, here lies anxiety. It went straight to hell. I see my best friends at an appropriate distance and God, how I've missed them, and it's sad, and I put that sadness at the end of my pen and I scribble it away in my dreadful handwriting. 

I have my little bubble of people, some of whom I can call, some see, some touch, and under it all is this swift current, this voice, this whisper, here we are at the end of the world, and wouldn't it be nice to just... 


I wonder what that's like?

I'm done, I've been done. I just don't have it in me to care about stupid things anymore. I don't have the energy. I've spent so long trying to detach from toxic people and I thought it was so hard and here I am and I just do not, cannot care. I've struggled with elements of my identity, some public, some private, and I've been mad at myself for things I can't change, and dear God, yes, this is who I am, so I'd better live it. 

I don't know how long I have. I do not know how long our country has. Our world. Does that sound extreme? How could it? Between COVID and climate change, white supremacy, fascism, voter suppression, honest to God secret police grabbing people off the street... Yeah. It's not that crazy to think that whatever we've known about our lives is about to change. 

In some ways, it had better. 

I didn't know who I'd be on the other side of the pandemic, and I still don't know. I can tell you that I am already a fundamentally different person while also being the most "Alice" I have ever been. I love more; I know I have so much more love in me than I realized. I'm a bigger person on the inside but with better boundaries. I've written ridiculously romantic dreck and called some of it good. I've had so many more deep conversations with my husband - which is just flat out amazing, I think - and I've forged other bonds which nourish me. I'm lucky. I'm extraordinarily privileged.

The world is ending. 

The world is ending and I'm here, I'm living it, I'm so damned fortunate, and I'm always taking my meds, and I put my worries in a box, and I love and make love and I write, write, write. 

What is the word for having so much hope when there is none?   

I'm going to do what I can do. Donate, vote, have tough conversations, educate myself. I'm not saying goodbye to the idea of a better world - I am invested in this one - but I've realized how many things I've needed to give up, how many layers to unwrap, in order to really live my own life. The image I had of myself was incomplete. Disaster has forged a newness I'd been craving for such a long time. 

It's just all so big. All the scary things, and the bad things, and the worries down under heavy rocks. I'm so small in comparison.

But I won't make myself small. Not for anyone. Not for myself.

Not anymore. 

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