I’ve been depressed for a while. What month is it? Midway through March? Yes, a while. I couldn’t figure out why. I slipped into a funk sometime after the holidays. I couldn’t put my finger on what’s been at the root of bumming me out so much. None of my usual tricks for pulling myself out of a funk were working. I’m generally pretty good at making myself snap out of this sort of thing. This told me that it was a slightly more serious situation. The feeling was then being compounded by not being able to figure out why I was feeling so glum. My life is pretty good right now, I’ve got “no reason” to complain, to bitch, to be depressed. I know that. None the less, I couldn’t shake the malaise. I haven’t wanted to write. I’ve been distracting myself with chores. I’ve thought, “I’m just disillusioned right now. This will pass, it always does.” But whenever I thought that, I immediately thought, “No, that isn’t it. ” Some folks don’t bother themselves with what is bothering them, and if that works for them, that’s great. When there’s something going on with me, I’ve got to get to the bottom of it, I’ll run it into the ground. (Also note, my level of awareness, or give a damn, was such today that I went out wearing one of my Tom Petty shirts and a pair of dark glasses, without looking in the mirror before I left the house.) Allow me to continue on with this self-indulgent meandering and eventually, get to the point.
I thought, “It’s politics. It’s all this constant political brouhaha. I’ll just stop listening to it. I’ll just not pay any attention to it. I’ll do the ol’ Ostrich routine.” ( Note here that Ostriches don’t really bury their heads in the sand, they’re checking on their eggs, turning them or something so the babies come out evenly incubated.) Many a soul out there is having some trouble coping. Well, in retrospect, in this moment of realization, what a luxury that is to even be able to contemplate ignoring politics completely, so many in the world have no such option. But it isn’t only politics, it is our social structure in this strange new world of the twenty-first century, it is media and social media and all that has come with it or goes with it. ( As I’ve often gone on at length about, this we know.) So I tried that. But in that, I kept thinking, “No, that isn’t it either. That isn’t the answer.” My brain, I love my brain so much, was trying to get at something deeper. Then I thought, think, have thought, in the abstract, the bigger picture, perspective wise and philosophically, beyond all these issues, politics, religion, what have you, none of it matters anyway. We get caught up in these so-called civilized constructs with some idea that it is the ultimate reality and not a construct within a larger reality. This is, I’ve realized, one of the reasons why I’ve continued to watch the AMC series, “The Walking Dead”, wherein a zombie apocalypse has seemingly eliminated all of our known constructs, stripping the remaining members, the survivors, of society down to the basics of said survival. As in, “It doesn’t matter what your political views were, we’ve got to find some food.” But, in that too, perhaps, the premise is somewhat flawed, or they’ve not got to it yet, as there would likely have been, be, some group of survivors that were zealots in one direction or another, claiming that said zombie apocalypse was the wrath of whatever they believe in. But, I’m digressing. Point was, I said to myself, tried to tell myself, there’s a higher perspective beyond all these constructs that we choose to employ in our day to day lives, in the functioning of the world, and, in many ways, that is, in fact, true. In terms of keeping things in perspective, I’ve found it to be an incredibly helpful thing to keep in mind. But that wasn’t it either. Here is another important truth, at the crux of much of the madness, everyone in the world isn’t functioning at the same level of knowledge, intelligence, awareness, or enlightenment. To which you might say, “Well, duh, Teri.” Which is well and fine and good until the moment when we misunderstand, when we forget or fail to realize, that our own enlightenment, our own moment of realization, of epiphany, does not alter one whit for one moment, the perspective of those ensconced in ignorance, even less so those ensconced in ignorance whom believe themselves to be enlightened.
An example, oversimplified, there are those who believe that guns are bad, should be banned from private ownership for a variety of reasons, most of which seem fear based, and there are those who believe that banning guns is a ridiculous idea and people ought to be able to behave like responsible adults and if you take away the guns, people will just stab one another, like what’s going on in the United Kingdom. One of the big chain grocery stores in the UK is no longer selling individual kitchen knives. It’s that bad there. So, which side is enlightened? “This is why we can’t have knives and guns, Barbra! If one person misbehaves, nobody gets any pudding!” Excuse me, I’ve got to go sharpen a stick.
None of that was, specifically, the answer either, as to why I’ve been depressed.
I’ve been having trouble writing. I couldn’t figure that out either. I’ve felt completely uninspired, like there’s no point, disillusioned, distracted, like I- just-don’t-wanna, why bother, etc. I’ve thought about quitting completely. I haven’t felt excited about it lately, haven’t had that “I can’t wait to get this idea down on paper!” thing happen in a while. I began to realize there was some emotion I was having trouble getting at. I couldn’t express what I was feeling because I didn’t understand it. Finally, I got myself to the place where I could get at asking, “What do you want?” My answer seemed almost childish, even to me, or, childishly simple, “I want the world to not be like this.” Like what? What is going on out there in the world that is affecting my daily life so much that it got me so terribly depressed to the point of distraction? Like I said, my life right now, is pretty good. And, keeping in mind that not wanting the world to be like this, might not be the best answer either, because, while no doubt it could be better, it could also be a helluva lot worse too. ( I am the over-thinking champion.)
Then the massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand was perpetrated. I say perpetrated because such things do not just happen, they do not just “occur” on their own. Such things are perpetrated. In the aftermath of said event, I read something that brought me to the point of the thing I couldn’t quite get at and was, in various ways, alternately trying to both figure out and avoid figuring out. I was trying to sneak up on the truth of the situation as if that would make it easier once I understood it. This is the way the world is now.
Here’s a link to what I read, by documentary filmmaker and journalist, Katie Hopkins. Here. I would want that you should consider that my sharing this link isn’t necessarily an endorsement of what she said, or of everything she’s ever said, or even of her as a human, I don’t know her, nor she I, perhaps she’s completely fabulous, I don’t know, this is merely my disclaimer because people are sometimes idiots, hope that was plain enough, nor is it presented as potential fodder for argument. However, I do think it’s spot on, ( though I don’t think a victor has been declared as yet in any number of situations) and a powerful, brave, statement, but that isn’t why I’m sharing the link. I’m sharing the link and the contents of what she wrote as a point of thought, of consideration, and as, this is what, in part, got me to the realization as to what has had me so down. So, whether you find that you agree with it or not, that is your prerogative, but not the point of why I’ve shared it.
This is the way the world is now. But, that wasn’t quite it either. This is the way the world has always been. When you look at these conflicts, political, religious, in the context of history, they aren’t new, they are ancient. In that, however, is so much of why the United States exists, because those who came here, who started this country, who wrote our constitution, were doing so to get away from all that. They came here so that they could worship freely as they chose to, with the idea of creating a FREE country, for themselves and for anyone else who wanted freedom, with the understanding of “We are not those other things, those other places, those other ideas, those other people, that we left behind because they didn’t work. We are this new world, we are now here and all, AMERICANS. And we are FREE.” Someone, some pundit, I apologize for not recalling who at the moment, said recently, “If the United States is so systemically racist, why are so many people from other countries still clamoring to get here?” But, I digress. These conflicts over religion, politics, territories, are ancient. The world has always been this way. The United States, however imperfect, okay, because enough with the ripping apart, the United States was, in many ways a world away from the world. There are reasons why that was so. What I’ve been feeling, frankly, is that the American way of life is under attack, by those who misunderstand it, by those who want it but can’t have it because they don’t understand it as an idea or an ideal, by those who hate it for whatever other reasons, it doesn’t matter. When I thought of it that way, of the U.S. as a world away from the world, I began to understand that is really what those who created the United States as the United States were trying to do. And they succeeded. “Let all that be out there, but here, we will make a new way.” But what happens if too much of the outside world gets in? Is that like too much water on a boat? People come to America now without wanting to become Americans. The world was always in turmoil, has always been in some kind of turmoil, holy wars, and that is what they are, territorial wars, continuous conflicts over political ideologies, the ruling class versus the working class, but in the U.S., we had seemed to learn from our mistakes, from the Civil War, to Civil Rights, and on and on. We seemed to understand and appreciate, whatever our internal conflicts or differences, how good life in the United States is, and how lucky and blessed every American is to be an American. I realized, I hadn’t accepted it, that this is the way the world is. I thought I’d got it sorted out when I admitted to myself that I’m not here to save the world, but it was that I hadn’t even accepted or understood that this is the world. And, no, it doesn’t have to be this way, but we’ve got issues like people perpetuating the idea that in twelve years the planet will be too hot to inhabit while saying that there’s no crisis at the U.S. Southern border, and sixteen year olds should vote, and Venezuela would have been fine if we’d stayed out of it, and… the denial and delusion is kind of thick these days. The only thing thicker than the denial and delusion, is the denial and delusion about the thickness of the denial and delusion. Perhaps the internet has made the United States feel as though it were not quite the world away that it once was. Perhaps, and this could be a good thing, it is making us more aware of the fragility of freedom and peace, and the value of it. Life in the U.S. is still pretty fantastically totally amazing, in general, but especially if you begin to compare it to other places in the world.
I’m not ignoring the news. I’m not trying to sequester myself from the news, from the goings on of the world. I’m incredibly blessed, I thank God for my life, for every minute of it. I’ve been trying to get to, realize, this place of being for the entirety of my adult life. The other day, I read something I wrote decades ago, to someone else in regard to a personal situation involving others so I can’t really share it, ( not being mysterious and it isn’t so much that, we’ve all had our personal stuff in this life, really now) but it was something I wrote during a time when I recall being so tremendously afraid all the time and what I wrote was fearless in the face of it,(that’s the point) because I while I was scared, I firmly believed I was correct. I read it shaking my head, thinking, “This is just righteous balls. I was completely terrified.” What that did for me was remind me of myself, of writing with emotional integrity. Good fiction, good poetry, requires true emotion. I don’t believe in writer’s block, but a person can become emotionally tangled up and that can make it difficult, at times, to get at what one needs to get at. I’m wondering if I am graduating fully into my own womanhood, finally, after all these many years. (I’ve always liked being an adult. That doesn’t mean I’m always terribly grown up, but I’ve always liked being adult.) I don’t know what that will mean or what it will bring, but I’m going to do my level best to embrace it. When we try to shut ourselves off completely from any unpleasantness, we also, after a time, begin to miss much of the joy there is in this life. There is plenty of joy as well. Yin and Yang.
I’m going to get into sharing some poems. See if I can’t get the creative juices flowing now that I’ve figured out what was getting me down.
What I want to say here is, again, what I realized, the world has always been this way, many of these conflicts are ancient, however present they are now, and thus far, the world has always gone on. Changed, perhaps, but the world has gone on. People manage to live, to have lives, to go on, so there is that. I think there is hope in that. ~ TS
Also…I’m feeling better already and, this completely made my day. Flex Seal experiment.