*Note: I wrote this last summer, so before the election, and hadn’t gotten around to posting it. I’ve decided to go ahead and post without editing (gasp) because I’m trying to remind myself that things were not exactly peachy, even before November.*
I’ve been struggling with writing lately, not only for the usual reasons of too much to do and not enough time, not enough money, etc, but because I’m finding the constant barrage of shit in the news overwhelming, as do the majority of even vaguely emotionally sensitive people. And I’ve been struggling with how to keep on posting about my garden and cooking and the rest of it when there is so much disaster bombarding us from all sides. I keep thinking of Parable of the Sower and wondering, are we there already? Is it time?
I actually saw something on facebook, harbinger of doom, that made me feel a little better (in a perverse way). It said something about how this has all been happening all along, but now we see it more often because of the way the media reports it. And I stopped and thought, yes, that’s true, cops have been discriminating and abusing their privileges for a very long time now, and getting away with murder, too. Yes, men have been raping women and getting away with it for even longer. And while this is a terrible shitty thought, it did still some of my panic- maybe the end is not quite as nigh as I’ve been imagining, maybe all of these things are just more visible than before. Which is a good (?) thing- I think maybe it means people are starting to care.
I struggle so much with how much attention to pay to the news, and I’ve realized lately that I have intentionally made myself woefully uninformed. The trouble is, being informed comes with a price. It’s depressing. And I don’t just mean that in the general sense of wow, it’s only bad news, I mean, soul crushing can’t get out of bed for days completely incapable of functioning depressing. I think out of self defense I shut myself off. Not entirely- I usually follow the general headlines- but enough so that I could manage to maintain my existence without wanting to just give up on a daily basis.
But things have been creeping back in, inevitably, and I have to wonder again: what is the point of me nattering on about growing food and posting pretty pictures of the native flowers to instagram? Is there one? Is the growing trend in homesteading and self sufficiency just a desperate attempt to fling some kind of hope against the oncoming tidal wave of horror and despair that is threatening to overtake us? Lest I sound melodramatic, a young lady that I greatly respect told me recently that every single one of her friends suffers from some form of anxiety. Given my own constant fight against anxiety, and how many people I see also finally speaking up about their own anxiety, I can’t say I’m surprised. How could you not be? Just scroll through facebook (doomsbook) and it’s non stop horrors.
Fortunately I am friends with a lot of artists on facebook, and even more fortunately count myself among that community. As I was scrolling through facebook, freaking out about the onslaught, I also saw friends posting about music projects and art projects and how faire is starting soon and it gave me this tiny ray of hope. Also, there are birds and sharks and octopi. And my garden.
I believe one of the best weapons of those that wish to keep people powerless has in fact been the deluge of information that’s been piled on us. How do you act when each way you turn there’s seemingly another enemy? I’m reminded of something I’ve probably mentioned on here a thousand times- of a passage in Emma Goldman’s autobiography where she mentions the first time she spoke in England. At the time she was frequently arrested in America for speaking out against the government, capitalism, etc, and each time she was thrown in jail more people rallied to the cause. But in England she was allowed to stand on whichever street corner she liked and speak as much as she wanted and no one paid the slightest attention- they were inundated on all sides by others speaking their minds. Add to that the massive flow of information you can receive in a short period of time- even if it’s just scrolling through facebook (I’m saying nothing about accuracy)- and it’s enough to make anyone want to shut it all out. Even if you do want to act- where to begin? And do I even need to point out that Orlando was only a month ago and already we have completely stopped talking about it? Hell the fucking UK decided to leave the EU and we’ve already stopped talking about it. The biggest story in the news right now is fucking Pokemon Go.