The other day I saw a tweet on my timeline of a girl who was trying to express her resentment towards her own existence. She was adamant about the fact that she was not suicidal and did not have suicidal ideation, rather she was looking for understanding and acceptance, pleading her readers to “normalize the feeling of not wanting to exist without trying to demonize it”, label it or diagnose it. I can relate.
What the fuck is going on in this world? Why is there so much evil? Should I even be entertaining the idea of bringing children into this world? I think these very thoughts and utter these now too familiar words, but these questions have become rhetorical; I am left to ponder these thoughts without resolution. What I have heard reiterated throughout this pandemic seems to go along the lines of, “We’ll get through this! It will be over soon and back to normal!”. Normal? Because snow in Texas is normal. I think we all know and maybe we just can’t bring ourselves to admit it, but the Earth is giving us our karma-and it's well deserved. At this point, if someone were to deny climate change, my bad, climate destabilization (for all those who love to argue science) in my presence I’m not sure if I would laugh, cry or just have to remove myself from the situation entirely. It’s exhausting to think that people are so far brainwashed into thinking that what we are experiencing globally isn’t a direct result of capitalism, overconsumption and the abuse of our resources all orchestrated by big corporations and our “leaders” of the world. I am angry.
I remember in grade 11 chemistry we had a substitute teacher that went out of his way to hand out articles debunking and rejecting climate change. When our teacher found out she was enraged, collecting all the handouts and throwing them in the bin while she implored us to come to a solid understanding of how serious climate change is. I think most of the class was hyped up to see the ‘beef’ unravel between two professional adults, but what struck me hard was the lingering feeling of doubt, confusion and the unease of being so easily fed damaging and corrupt misinformation. What is so incredibly difficult to swallow is that I think our generation is hyper aware of all of this. The majority of us are conscious about the consequences of our actions on the environment and the interactions between vast human and animal ecosystems. We are aware of the injustices happening all around us. There’s a lot of information-too much I think. Everyday I am trying to catch myself up to speed with what is going wrong in the world today, reminding myself not to neglect and forget yesterday's unsolved issues. With the little that we can do while trying to maintain our roles as friends, partners, students, employees and the list goes on; the majority of us feel overwhelmed, where do we start to take action? What can we DO to turn this world around? All action is action, yes of course. But with the unfair cards we have been dealt, with the mess on top of mess, on top of shit pile that generations before us have so graciously left behind; can we confidently feel as though time is on our side? I feel ashamed and guilty to say I am overwhelmed and paralyzed when confronting my-our world, but it’s the truth. Like many I am overwhelmed and I am desensitized to the horrible things I see daily. I remember during summer quarantine I watched the live and gross injustice that unfolded in the Black Lives Matter protests in the US. I remember days where I spent consecutive hours, waking up at 10 and not leaving my bed until 2pm, eyes glued to the screen, scrolling and scrolling through my very active twitter timeline. Forgot to eat, didn’t need to though because I was filled and fueled up on rage and hurt. I could not accept that what was happening was completely out of my control. I felt nauseous when I had to face my screen, but guilty and cowardly when I had to turn off my phone. This is the persistent battle I find myself in nowadays.
I am friends with so many intelligent people who know their way around the world of politics and economics. I listen when they speak because I want to know more, but I can admit that I am not proactive in becoming educated in these areas. Why? Because to be quite honest it just seems like fancy lies told in a language I simply cannot comprehend, and because I will never be able to ‘choose the lesser evil’. I believe in reformation, revolution and starting from scratch. I’ve been told that I’m very idealistic and that solutions to the problems of this world are not that easily solved. I know oftentimes I sound ignorant, maybe even delusional, but I encourage everyone to entertain these ‘silly’ and absurd trains of thought. Why exactly is it so hard to end poverty? We have been told we have enough global resources to sustain comfortable living for all. Why can’t we just print more money? Ridiculous, ya I’m well aware. Really think about it though...for fun! Break it down and the majority of the answers you’ll find are based on greed and overconsumption.
I know I sound terribly pessimistic and bleak, but that is just not who I am. I practically live most of my days in my own fantasy world, so much so that I often disassociate from and completely reject this dystopian “reality”; it’s not my reality. My personal journey of spirituality has allowed me to ask these questions and address them where I hold control: my own agency, my behaviours and my actions. The ultimate goal being to achieve inner peace so that I am able to have a positive impact on whoever I may reach in my lifetime. However, I’ve had to face a hard-to-swallow pill recently. Spirituality and religion of any kind are great tool boxes and manuals for self improvement and leading a ‘good’, content life, but they also act as crutches in times of despair; sometimes we lean on these crutches to help us stand, but oftentimes we allow ourselves to become reliant on our chosen crutch. Spirituality in this case is then a very easy road to individualism-a dangerous, slippery slope. This is because there is a prominent notion of betterment or enlightenment of SELF; that regardless of the state of the world, you are here as a ‘soul in a vessel, a temporary body’, that human suffering is a choice, and that a paradise beyond your existence on Earth awaits you. This is isolating-in a good way though; in a comforting way that offers security. The Golden Rule applies of course, for me personally I wish to love myself and have no inner turmoil just so that I am able to fully give my love and help to those around me. I don’t think everyone needs to strive to be a humanitarian but I do believe that in pursuing certain professions, you are able to actively choose to utilize your resources, talents, strengths and abilities towards facilitating impactful change.
Three major life changing lessons or tools I have learned on this journey are 1) understanding that you can only control YOUR reactions to adversity and other peoples doings; 2) you cannot be a victim to the world; 3) practicing unconditional gratitude. I am not perfect, life is full of distractions to fall in and out of, but I try. When I do implement these principles I find it is easier to be proactive. To ask more questions, deeper questions that I am determined to find the answers to, where contemplation does not lead me to feel doomed or unresolved.
I hope this long rant ended on a somewhat positive note for you but I want you to feel angry. Do not hold onto this anger; don’t let it turn into hate and fear. Use it to inspire action and proactive conversations. Ask the crazy questions and get even more angry when the answers do not come as easy as they should because the world you live in tells you how ‘impossible’ and ‘impractical’ they are.
I'm Maddi and Im a full time student (studying Child and Youth Work), and a self proclaimed content creator. Here I have my blog and my shop, I hope you enjoy!