In my time I have read some chilling things, fiction and non-fiction. I’ve watched some pretty scary movies and I have been very much aware of what happens in this world. While I continue to talk about love, diversity, equality, and finding that special core of truth in ourselves, I know that humankind is a difficult beast to quarry. Instead of aiming higher, up above the dark clouds or the thick fog shrouding the clear skies, we tend to dig down. Our intense need to create roots, or growing down, rather than expanding up, means that we often look for the easier route. Instead of choosing to grasp the hands of those around us, extending our limbs to others beyond our reach, we dig a hole for ourselves and chain a “private property” sign around our hole. We need the nourishment of rich soil to grow upwards, but it will only work if we look for the light to warm our growth. Burrowing roots into our personal holes just causes us to run round and round our own warrens, blindfolds causing us to bang our heads on the same old, worn, crumbling wall. All that damp darkness causes our brains to rot, selfishness and greed taking the place of the more universal quest of creating a better place not only for ourselves but for our fellow humans. Sadly we are more followers, led by the all too frequent power-hungry pied piper. Complacency is easier than reaction, and reaction is all too often just a learned response to something rather than a natural feeling. All too often we sit there more worried about the speed of our internet and why our neighbor has a better sound system than our's, rather than about the hundreds of thousands of people starving, displaced by war, worried about losing their homes, sleeping on the streets where the images of exploding limbs are slowly erased by the mind-numbing effects of cheaply cooked substances.
We don’t expand, we just implode. We can’t expand if we don’t accept that the world is a colorful place full of differences. We can’t expand if we just remain stagnant, believing the lies that others tell us, fearing the different. We can’t expand if we don’t look upwards and around us, rather than bunkering down. The stench of the ages is beginning to suffocate even the most adamant believers, but still, they continue to swim in the toxicity. A toxicity that is perpetuated and rolled back around: normalized.
If you blink that annoying image of a starving child will be replaced by an animated polar bear sharing a Coke with his family.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to feel sorry for those people who just fled the bombs pounding on their heads, they have cell phones so they can’t be that badly off.
Turn away, the old man mumbling to himself on the street corner was too weak-minded to figure out how to pull his bootstraps up.
Don’t feel bad about not caring, you have your own problems, anyway, right?
A few weeks ago I felt my anxiety peak to levels that were only a distant memory. Holding a baby on one hip, occupying the others with paper and pens and a TV show I had spent a whole day, and then week, calling senators, getting put on hold, writing emails and faxes out of despair, while scrolling through videos of passionate young adults protesting in front of the Capitol. Again the hammer came down, and again they stood up, again I picked up the phone, and finally got through. We were granted a short stay over the holidays until we go back to fighting again, but that short stay wasn’t really for us was it? I found myself yet again scrolling through articles on immigration, and then looking at the comment section. I know, this is not smart, but all the same, people are more likely to write exactly what they really think from behind a computer, the buffer between their little personal, stench-ridden holes and the outside world. One person’s comment may not reflect an entire society’s general opinion, but the more often the same comment shows up, the more you start to wonder about how deep we are entrenched in oblivion and absolute ignorance.
A man, or at least someone posting as a man, with a slightly trollish profile, posted his manifesto on immigration. It was long-winded, but I was nursing my youngest so I had the time to read it. It started off with the usual tired white supremacist anti-immigration blurb, stop chain migration, deport them all, stealing our jobs, our country is spending so much on illegal immigration etc etc. And then I got to a paragraph that was so disgusting, and written in such plain text that I had to reread it to make sure I had understood it properly. This person wanted to change the 14th Amendment (every person born in the US is a US citizen), remove all children whose parents are undocumented, strip those parents of their parental rights, and put the children up for adoption, and/or incarcerate them, and sending them back to the country of their parents after they are paroled. I saved a screenshot of the text but I am not going to provide a direct quote as it doesn’t need any more exposure than it already received. I KNOW that most people don’t think like this, or at least wouldn’t feel comfortable doing this. However, there ARE people who believe this is what needs to happen, and there are many more of them than we think. Complacency kills. It all starts somewhere, and will always trickle down eventually. A pound of human flesh here and a pound there, it will never, ever measure up, there is always another pound needed to balance the equation.
You are not between a rock and a hard place. You just need to look up and reach out. No more paralysis. No more believing that “these things only happen in other countries”. Because they have already been happening in your country. Our freedom is what we make it, and a main part of it resides in being able to live, not survive. I know there are so many of you who believe in a better place, who dream of an easier life, less anxiety, less hustle, but it’s so very important to see the bigger picture, and your government and people in power are not going to help you with that. If we don’t expand and step up, those who want power and riches and to rule over you will. My own worst nightmares are to lose my children and my partner, which is why the comment above hit me to the core. And because I am an empath it broke my heart for the millions of people it could affect in this country, and then all of the billions of people who have to fight every single day to make sure their children make it through. These people are my people, and our lives are entwined, as much as we would like to believe they aren’t. Nobody is immune.
Channel those fears into direction. Start at the bottom, and crawl out of the hole. The warmth of the sun on your fingertips is a lot more filling than the squelch of dank soil between your toes.