I have felt sick for the last week. Nothing too debilitating, but unwell. Tired, headachy, stomachachy, bodyachy, bloaty, no meaningful appetite. My heart, head and body feel heavy. Too heavy. And today I wondered why I wasn’t feeling any better. Then I realized, I’m feeling the weight of the world. It doesn’t feel good. There is introverted-empath me who wants to shut off the computer, throw away the phone, delete the Facebook profile, take the cats, and go live amongst the trees and streams. And then there is the writer-activist me who says, “Why aren’t you saying anything?” Today, the writer-me won, so I’m saying something about why I feel so itchy-scratchy.
Here is the world today, as I see it:
June 12, 49 people were killed and 53 were injured by a loan gunman in Orlando.
My daughter tells me that she has to be careful of where she goes to school and that so do her friends. She has told me that if I were to move to the south, she would never visit. I would like to tell my daughter and her friends that their sexual preferences, gender and race really don’t matter in today’s world. I can’t, and it makes me sad to know that a man decided the LGBT community was an enemy. I’m glad my daughter and her friends decided to stay in California when they transferred to a four-year university. I’m glad they weren’t at Pulse. This event has sparked a lot of dialogue and vitriol around the Second Amendment.
June 23, the people of the United Kingdom, 52% to 48%, voted to leave the European Union.
A country that has spent centuries colonizing the world is now claiming nationalism. People are scared, the stock markets are looking grim, and the U.K., for once, is the butt of the political jokes. The consequences of this decision are still to come, but British friends who live in other countries, thanks to the EU, are now worried that they will lose their homes and livelihoods.
May 4, Donald Trump became the presidential nominee for the Republican Party.
I don’t know what to say here, because it boggles the mind. If he wins, the United States will again take its place as the country with the most idiots and we will, once again, be the butt of many a joke. I’m not sure if the people who support him care about that. I think most of them are nationalists. And if British politics are an indicator, well… Trump will be our 45th president.
June 12, Hilary Rodham Clinton became the presidential nominee for the Democratic Party
HRC is the first women to win the nomination for a major political party in the U.S. It is, and should be, a momentous occasion for women. However, Clinton comes with a lot of baggage and there has been a lot of vitriol directed at her by Bernie Sanders supporters (some of whom are registered Democrats) and the Republicans. While we should be celebrating that a woman has made it this far, the Bernie Camp and Hilary Camp are still gnawing at each other’s throats. I don’t see this ending before 2017, if then.
None of these events, in and of themselves, are the entire cause of my fatigue. Work is fraught with problems of posturing, control, terrible morale, and being in a job and place not well-suited for me—or I it. My daughter is mostly snarky and snotty to me as a young adult, (she was an awesome teenager). I commute too many hours Monday through Friday. I worry about how I’m going to help Daniela pay for school while paying my student loans. I’m tired of not having enough time to do it all. I want to spend more time writing, kayaking and hiking, and less time running errands, cleaning house and going to a job I dislike. It all weighs on me.
But really, what bothers me the most, is people. I’ve seen a lot of unhealthy behavior for months and there seems to be an inherent meanness, rudeness and inability to just shut. the. fuck. up.
Friends, who should be on the same side politically, are pointing fingers, calling each other names, and slamming the other’s presidential candidate choice. Friends, who are good human beings and working to make the world a better place, are adamant that everyone should have the right to own semi-automatic weapons. Other friends, who are equally good and working equally hard to improve the world, feel that gun reform is absolutely necessary. I’m pretty sure that all these people would like world peace, climate change to repair itself, the United States to regain some of its health and strength as a country. I’m pretty sure none of them want to see or hear about any more mass shootings, the destruction of bees, the loss of potable water, and possibly the 2016 Presidential Election. And yet I watch and listen to all these good people talk down to each other, and no one stops to listen.
Why am I wrong? Why are you right? Why is your candidate better? Why do you support the Right to Bear Arms, as is? What would you put in place of the Second Amendment? Why do you hate people who are different than you? Do you hate all of them or just some of them? What do you love about this insane world of ours? What are your hopes and dreams? What are your hopes for your children and grandchildren? Do you care about our planet? Do you care about yourself?
We aren’t asking these questions of one another. Instead, we are speaking with fear in our hearts. Fear of a lot of unknowns. Our world is scary and uncertain. At the rate we are going as a species, our time on this planet is running out. Our country seems to be spinning out of control. And yet, at the same time as Pulse, Trump, Clinton, Sanders, and Guns, Pope Francis is saying that the Roman Catholic Church and Christians should apologize and ask for forgiveness of those it has discriminated against. It’s remarkable! He speaks without fear. Or maybe he speaks in spite of it. I don’t know.
I don’t have an answer for the conundrum of fear. I don’t have answers to anything these days, I just know that I am weary of it all.
Yet, here’s what I do know: If we, as a species, continue to roam Earth with fear, we will stop existing; Friendships are being divided because of fear that comes in the form of racism, bigotry and the need to be right; “United we stand, divided we fall” is something we should be pondering now, not just in this country, but globally; And if we live with a little more love and a little less fear, we might have a chance of making our daily lives better, keeping our friendships, and remembering that regardless of anything else, we are in this together.