The Best Gift my Pain Gives me

A bunch of people died so I’ve been quietly mourning. I decided I didn’t want to be a burden. That’s how I roll. It’s failing miserably.

I could tell you about my mourning but I won’t. My body count is mounting and it’s been growing for years and I’m tired in a way I can’t explain.

If I went to every funeral, I’d never have time to do anything else. And my jokes are so morbid now that no one hears them as jokes anymore but me.

So that’s what I’ve been up to.

Sometimes I lose hope.

But I can’t. It’s not allowed. Because most of the time that hope is the only thing standing in the way of destruction.

Sometimes I dream about running off into the forest and just reading Rousseau style so I don’t have to cope with humanity anymore.

I straight don’t have the balls to pull it off.

So, I’m trying to rebuild the things we destroyed and I don’t know how they got ruined. I’m running around listening to the pain and isolation all of us are experiencing.

We’ve forgotten how to be friends in our efforts to be perfect.

We put on the brave face and fill social media and our conversations with bullshit. We lie and pretend to be normal.

Our generation’s real claim to fame might be how absolutely full of shit we all are. We’ve all become PR pros. It is destroying all of us.

We’ve ruined communities in favor of pretending we can be completely independent. None of us know how to listen because we are so terrified of how what we say will look.

We’ve made dating a ridiculous charade where none of us knows how to love anymore, where apps have replaced any sense of real love. Swipe left, fuck badly and pretend it’s fun. Cry and repeat.

We’ve replaced friendships with drive-by conversations we put on each other’s walls as if it is the same as the salons of the past. As if it is the same as showing up and laughing in person.

We’ve destroyed whole relationships in the name of what? You know the ideological game is nonsense? RIGHT?!

I can’t care anymore. It’s all so absurd. We are past satire and I know what that means historically and the only good news I have is that we have the power, only collectively, to change it.

I was hoping I wasn’t going to be part of a generation where absurdism won the day but maybe it’s right because my life is so damn absurd. And it’s absurdity that makes me laugh the most.

These aren’t good signs.

And before you ask, this has nothing to do with the presidency or the Republicans. This has been our trajectory for some time and our cultural problems have been there for a while. The conservatives just caught on to the game faster than the left did. I’m pleading with everyone to wake up.

“Progress” is not inevitable and nothing is coming to save us. I hope that empowers you because we actually have the power to control the culture around us.

All of this: institutions, culture, community are nothing more than a group of people. So stop acting as though these forces are outside of you. Indeed, they are all of us. In every moment, in every way.

Neither side is right. There are so many sides. None of this matters as much as sharing food with one another.

Please tell me someone knows this fighting with the people we love about ideas that shouldn’t divide us is bullshit because I can’t keep pretending?

We have to stop the circus.

We have to stop the charade.

Because I can’t keep watching the best of us destroy ourselves any longer.

And I have a solution….

No I don’t.

I have suggestions I hope you will all think about.

I can’t carry this alone. I can’t do this alone anymore and neither can any of you.

So here’s what I’m proposing.

I’m proposing that the best solution to my problems and yours is to love each other like our lives depend on it.

Because lord knows they do.

And the rest of it, is meaningless. We work to survive and to occupy our our time. We work to feel useful.

But maybe it’s time we start living for each other instead.

Because I think we could have saved some of us. I think we could have done it through love.

I think our ideologies could succeed better through love.

War has been tried. Anger has been done. Hate is so boring to me now I can’t take it anymore.

I don’t know how to be mean anymore.

I don’t have the capacity to hate anymore.

The only thing I have left is my capacity to love.

And they call me crazy for it.

They call me weak.

They claim I don’t understand the nature of oppression. The nature of oppression is hate.

It’s my pain that makes me like this. You see enough dead bodies and you start to value life. Take enough beatings and you can’t watch other people take them either. Be surrounded by enough hate and you learn to love to survive.

I’m beginning to think that maybe that pain is a blessing. That maybe the energy I no longer have to hate is gone for a good reason.

I keep getting told that my love is why they hurt me but they hurt me when I hated too. And if they will hurt me anyway, I’d rather go down for love.

I know who I am. The thing I am always proudest of is that they did everything they could to take my capacity to love from me and they couldn’t.

I’m going to the grave with a love that I hope that everyone understands, because it has been so much more powerful than my hate and anger.

And you can quote whatever study you want to me, but I didn’t need a study to know that love is what has kept me alive despite my PTSD.

I know what has been keeping alive.

And it isn’t my anger. It is my love.

It is the joy I feel helping others and feeling like I’m a small, meaningless, insignificant person in a vast universe where nothing matters except how hard I tried to love in this vast absurdity. It is all meaningless but it is all still so goddamn beautiful. This existence is the most ridiculous and loveliest miracle of all time and it has been for all time.

And the worst thing our generation has done is we tried to shed that love in the name of the self. We shed it for rationality. We laughed at it and patted ourselves on the back for our inability to feel. We are proud of the communities we destroyed.

I don’t have all the solutions but I know something for a fact.

We need each other.

We need love.

We are not going to thrive or survive on our own.

We aren’t good feminists for leaving half our community out and not taking care of each other. Feminism wasn’t about independence, it was about acknowledging that our world needs us to provide leadership that emphasizes love and community. It’s a heavy responsibility but all of us are responsible for this world we are in.

Our men might be happy at work but each and every single one of them needs warmth. And we need them to lead. We need them to remember their strength because they need it too. We need them to remember their responsibilities to their communities. The burden is easier when we carry it together.

I’ve never been so scared for us.

And there is no technology that can save us from this.

And I don’t know how else to ask for this:

But I’m begging each and every single one of you to set aside your ideologies and PR and rebuild the communities we need.

Not ideologically.

Not tribally.

Not for work reasons.

But because the best thing I learned from being poor is that the only way to get the cup of sugar you need is to love the person you are asking it from.

And now two Stanford degrees later I don’t know how to teach everyone of us to ask for sugar.

It seems like we can replace these things with professionals, but there is no replacement for love.

I’m telling you, I’m being honest now. I’ll be the one to say it, if I have to: none of us are ok right now.

There is only one cure.

It’s love.

An unconditional love that follows you through the moments you don’t post on Facebook. It’s the kind of love you have when staring down the face the of monsters. This is going to be carried in on the backs of warriors for love. And we need each and every single one of us to carry some of the load.

It’s the kind of love that doesn’t ask us for anything but our truth. Our truth is dark and painful sometimes but it is gorgeous too and I’d rather hear it than watch a sea of glossy lies while I watch the best people I know forget who they are and who they were meant to be.

I’m not watching the best of us destroy ourselves.

I won’t.

I can’t.

If the best thing I contribute in this lifetime is my love, I’ll be happy.

Because there’s no point in saving the body when the soul is gone.

I’m going to find that soul again because I refuse to believe we are are the sheep and robots they tried to turn us into.

And maybe the real rebellion is to be as human as we can be.

I’m human.

So are you.

And it is so fucking beautiful, and I just wanted to be the one to tell you that.

Because there is still time for us.

And in case you didn’t know

I’ll love you no matter what

Because I don’t know how to do anything else.

And that is the greatest gift my pain has given me.

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