It beckons to me in the darkness. My eyes have just opened, and my hand reaches for the coolness of its metallic skin. It flashes alive at my touch.
My feet hit the floor, and it begins.
What did our president say this morning? What human atrocity is going on in some distant land? What’s the state legislature up to today? What’s my bank account look like? What’s happening on the Facebook?
Smartphones used to be more fun than this. I sigh and keep scrolling the feed.
I used to believe that I thrived in chaos. That my orderly nature could outwit the insanity of any situation. Work? I’ve got this shit. Internet arguments? Cakewalk. People behaving badly? Let’s hug it out, bitches. But that was before the 2016 election cycle.
Politics and current events have never been a place for the faint of heart. From fighting it out in social studies and government classes as practice for speech and debate to pithy tweets catching the right RT’s and that adrenaline rush of the idea of your thoughts having reach, arguing ideas and coming to consensus with people is always something I’ve loved doing. It’s interesting. Politics is how we shape the future, so keeping up is important.
But these days, between assault allegations and learning fresh, every day, the depths of the lies and depravity that some of humanity gets up to, the chaos has finally reached a level that I can’t wrap my brain around. I’m anxious, scared, and resolute in my belief that we can be better and do better, but I am not thriving anymore.
I’m existing. Marinating in rage and fueled by coffee and thousand-word thinkpieces. I am as aware of falling down conspiracy holes and getting sucked into fake news and useless arguments as a video game gunman trying to take out a sniper with a rocket launcher in an open field. It seems like the insults and small injustices come faster these days, but I might just be more aware of them. The gray area stuff doesn’t roll off my back with a smile while it’s quietly internalized anymore. Now, I can see how decisions made by policy makers and businesspeople in their own self interests inevitably end in keeping people who aren’t white at the bottom of society. How being treated as an object can effect people. How sex and power can go so horridly wrong as to allow millions of victims to be silenced over the years. How we are only as strong as the weakest of us. How we can’t correct every injustice, but we can be kind and care about each other and make this shithole society a little easier to deal with every day.
The cures are out there. Enjoying hobbies. Reducing stress. Being with people we love. Helping others. Giving. Working. Finding balance. It’s certainly not drinking, eating junk food, and sitting on my ass staring at a blue lit box while getting slowly more and more crazy. But which one do I have going on? The fucking latter.
Thing is, I need the rage. The anger fuels my opinions, my giving patterns, my vote. Having all of that data in the media – fact checked, well written articles from journalists that I’ve learned to trust through watching their interactions on social media as well as reading their work – makes life easier. Because if I don’t know what is going on, my mind will always go to the worst case scenario. A doomsday outlook built on the closest to truth I can find will always be the most comforting alternative to ignoring it all, hoping that it goes away.
The world is outside of my door, whether I choose to participate or not. Maybe my creativity and opinions aren’t fueled by a happy place, like every magic or sports movie taught me. Maybe true change is fueled by rage at the injustice of a perceived world. The more people that share the vision, the more rageahol we imbibe, the faster we get to the praying to a porcelain god, pleading that we’ll never drink like that again part of this show and get some of this rage and sadness and misunderstandings out of our collective system.
The Blue Wave might end up being mostly Democrat, but it’s also made of Cool Blue Gatorade to get some damn nutrients back into this country after we get done puking up the swamp water. Maybe, after that, we can get back to thriving together, instead of just existing in our rage.