Never in my life have my emotions been in such disarray. Not when I was a child – a stranger in a strange new country; not when I thought my mother was abandoning us; not when I went through a fraught puberty; not living through the constant threat of a cold war; not when I was drowning in the weird world of Scientology; not when I was mired in anorexia; not when my second marriage was falling apart – never.
I wake up feeling like there is a stone sitting on my chest. I palpitate with anxiety. I tell myself to continue putting one foot in front of the other – to live my life, as best I can – to make an effort.
I am tired of making efforts.
I am bombarded daily with news. Should I stop paying attention? Was I blissfully ignorant when I was younger? Did the lack of constant Internet stimulation keep me sane? Or was it as bad? Do I just not remember it that way?
I don’t know. I do know that in the last couple of days I have felt fury beyond any I have known. But I have nowhere to direct it. Kavanaugh – just another privileged white male, reaping the rewards of his connections and likely nefarious dealings. Oh – attempted rape? Hey, he was young – in high school – boys will be boys.
I could write down a hundred similar platitudes and each one would up my anger. All these old white men on the judicial committee – hey, what he did 36 years ago shouldn’t affect him now.
Why not? What he did still affects his victim to this day. Why does she have to pay for it all her life and he gets away with no accountability whatsoever? I’ll tell you why. Because we still live in a white patriarchy and this is the way it has always been. These men can’t ever know what it is like to be a woman – just like I can’t know what it is like to be black – to feel fear every time I see a policeman – to not know if I will be shot or stopped or arrested or beaten.
But I do know what it is like to be afraid to walk down a city street alone at night. I know what it is like to be afraid to walk into a parking garage underground. I know what it is like to be hyper aware of every sound and movement when I walk through a park. I know what it is like to be groped while I am working. I know what it is like to be raped. I know what it is like to feel that it is my fault – to never tell – because I am ashamed.
I know what is like to be at the mercy of the bullying boss who waves a finger in my face while he yells at me because if I say anything I will be fired.
I know what it is like to do twice the work of the man at the desk next to me and earn less.
I know what it is like to be a woman – and therefore less than all the privileged white men. And what is really sad is that so many of them have no idea that they are privileged. Image the privilege of not even knowing how unfair the world is!
So I am furious – furious that people like Kavanaugh and all his fellow misogynists in the senate and congress get to tell women what they can and cannot do with their reproductive health. The can make a “mistake” when they are 17 and all is well. Their life goes on. A woman makes a mistake at 17 and carries it for nine months (if Kavanaugh and his troop have their way) and pays for it for the rest of her life.
And they smile and invoke god because they are so very religious and pious and righteous.
And Kavanaugh’s accuser? They’ll play her like a cat with a mouse. For a wonderful education on how this will go watch Anita Hill’s testimony when she accused Clarence Thomas. If that doesn’t make you angry, nothing will. Condescending bullshit.
It’s a rigged game.
And that makes me furious.
And then there’s the despair. One more species at risk and extinct. One more million-acre forest mowed down. One more mega-mine set to spew millions of tons of C02 into the air; one more breach of a tailings pond; one more oil spill; one more capitalist scheme robbing our children of their future.
One more nail in the coffin of this planet and the only reason? Greed. That’s it. The 1% are raking in all the money and they don’t give a shit about the rest of the world. Why care? They’ll be dead before the earth breathes its last and we – the great unwashed – are simply collateral damage.
And so it goes and the best advice I hear is “Yes – this is happening. But you can’t let it get you down. Just do the best you can with what you have. Re-use, re-cycle, drive an electric car, live off the grid, cycle or walk to work, don’t use plastic straws.”
And the earth is burning or drowning or being blown apart.
Anger and despair.
The whole game is rigged.
No – I am not going to chomp down on a magic cyanide pill. But god, I wish there were better options than voting – because it seems no matter who we vote for, it’s the same old story – they are all in the pockets of rampant capitalism. All our governments are owned by the highest bidder.
And yet all I can do is what the best advice tells me to. And I have to find a reason to get up each morning. And I get up and do my best to find meaning and wonder. I hold on to the love I have in my life. I hold on now to my memories of the beautiful landscapes I walked through not that long ago.
And I pray that I will continue to walk through such landscapes. But I tell you what, my plans are to do my walking soon – all of it. If there is anything in my life that I want to do, it’s moving rapidly up the list. Now. Now. Now.
And I find my joy in the little things every day. Consciously look for it. Keep living my life. This is all we, as humans, have ever done, isn’t it? I imagine that as the war machines move over populations, each individual is doing the best they can right now, even if it’s only for a future of 10 minutes, because really, what else can we do?