Do you ever just feel exhausted? Not just physically, although that can be overwhelming too. But just in general; mentally, emotionally, socially? When everything overpowers you, and it’s stifling? Do you ever feel like the state of the world is what is exhausting? You know, that feeling that we are all insignificant, that we are not being heard or respected?
Because I do. And it makes me sad.
I am sad because of our current administration. I am sad that rich, white men in power seem to be the only ones making any decisions anymore. I am sad that minorities are still being attacked for the color of their skin, or the language they speak, or the religion they practice. I am sad that women are finally coming forward and telling their stories only to be told, essentially, that the people in charge don’t give a shit about their pain. I am sad that global warming and climate change are being ignored so emphatically that we might not even have a world left to save in 22 years. I am sad that people are still treating each other badly because of their sexual orientation. I am sad that children are no longer safe in schools. I am sad that there is such an undercurrent of hate and disrespect flooding through our society.
But I am also mad. I am mad that I even need to be sad about this stuff. And angry people are not quiet. I do not want to BE quiet, and give the impression that things are sitting right with me in today’s world. Because they are not.
I had a discussion a few weeks ago with some friends. We debated whether or not our current society was better or worse than previous decades. I was on the side that felt we were actually living in a very unsafe time. To me, everything feels precarious. Like at any moment the final straw will break the camel’s back and we will be living in a full-on dystopian hellscape. I am not a POC, so I cannot speak from that point-of-view, but as a woman and an LGBT+ member, I am scared. I do not feel secure or comfortable. I do not think our society is better or safer than it was before. I just think the people who want to hurt you have gotten smarter, sneakier, and more subtle. I think it’s the difference between walking up to someone and slashing their head off with a sword, or quietly poisoning their drink at dinner. The approach is different, but either way you end up dead.
It’s easy to give up. It’s easy to throw your hands in the air and say, “Okay, well, obviously it doesn’t matter. Obviously nothing is working, and nothing will change.” It’s easy to pretend this is someone else’s problem, and it’s easy to stick your head in the sand and reinforce your own protective bubble. But if you do that―and more importantly, if you CAN do that―you are showing your own privilege. You are telling yourself, your peers, and your world, that you aren’t going to try because it’s hard, and because it doesn’t directly effect your life. People have said from the beginning that the things that are right are rarely easy. They are correct.
So register to vote. And when November rolls around, GO VOTE. Don’t say you’re going to do it and then secretly stay home and watch reality TV. Don’t give yourself excuses. Don’t use work, or school, or your girlfriend’s pet hamster as a reason to not go. And don’t just vote. Do whatever else you can to stand up for what is right, what is equal, what is fair. Do not give up. Do not take the easy way out and ignore the problem, hoping it’ll go away on its own. Be strong; because even though it can sometimes feel like you’re screaming into the void, I can hear you. I’m screaming too. And if we get enough voices, not even the void can take away our noise.