It is easy to become bitter, on this path. It is easy to point fingers to declare others hypocrites to be angry at those who deny those who don’t care those who embrace ignorance and to blame those who refuse to see, who are blind willingly… But playing the blame game serves us nothing – because we are all trying to do our best and systems necessarily corrupt the people who live in them the same way that people corrupt the systems they create – there is no one to blame but an abstract “us” but even then the achievement does nothing except throw the problem back in our face; So if it is useless, if it is divisive, if it is distracting – then bitterness cannot be the way. It must not be, if we are to hold onto our hope.
It’s not about it being easy – though I understand your feelings when you say that. Solutions to this devastation we have wrought will not be easy. Solutions to our new brand of tragedy will not be easy. “Fixing” this is not supposed to be easy – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. Every day we go about our lives searching for the familiar, simple routes taking the paths that will require the least energy and the least work… Even when we try the other paths, we stop when we are “satisfied” whatever that means and why? When it comes to many things, this way of life is fine… But when it comes to this? Is it acceptable? Is anything short of everything acceptable? We bear it on our shoulders, after all. It was born out of our own selfish pursuit of “easy” – wasn’t it?
Universal justice and one way of life – Science as religion and personality traits as inherent. When we believe in absolutes we become blind to reality. We hold up our science as Truth – blind to the biases and corruption and conflicts of interest ignorant of other explanations, other ways of life refusing to notice the thousand side effects listed in small print like a commercial for Westernization – or Americanization – that plays endlessly on all available channels... We herald universal Justice – when such a thing does not exist when such an ideal brings harm to those who do not live the same way to those who are victimized by our hate to ourselves, who claim the role of gods… We were never gods, or spirits, either – collectively we do not deserve them. And that, too, is a blind universal.
Every day I go back and forth between loving another and loving myself.
But it shouldn’t have to be this way, I think.
My justice, my truth, my health and well-being, should never have to be at the expense of someone else’s –
and their’s should never have to be at the expense of mine.
My love should never have to be at the expense of someone else’s –
and their’s should never have to be at the expense of mine.
We don’t know how to live together anymore.
Maybe we never did.
For all our wars, for all our silences, for all our one-sided relationships and marriages ended in divorce –
and I know I’m oversimplifying this –
It seems like we’ve forgotten how to love.
We’ve forgotten how to look out for each other.
We’ve forgotten how to imagine someone else’s life.
Maybe we never knew how to live together.
Maybe, this project was doomed from the start.
I didn’t want this to happen.
Probably, you didn’t, either, but it’s not fair for me to speculate on that.
I can’t make promises anymore.
Every time you stare at me with dull or burning eyes,
I will flee into the night,
Frustrated and abandoned –
Like I used to be.
We all have our baggage.
You carry yours, and I’ll carry mine.
I shouldn’t have to carry yours –
And you shouldn’t disregard mine.
If I have to withdraw to take care of myself,
I will –
because you are hurting me.
If you want this relationship to be sustainable,
you will have to stop hurting me.
I’ve hurt myself enough.
Isn’t there something wrong here?
Many things, actually. It’s not hard to see. There will always be things that are wrong – our lives will never be perfect. But that fact shouldn’t deter us from trying to fix the wrong things and make them right.
For one thing,
Aren’t people too impatient?
They are too easy to push to the edge
Too easy to get them yelling
As if they have no time
As if they can’t conceive of the possibility
that those around them might be human…
is it so hard to realize a person’s humanity?
is it so hard to project into another person’s life?
once we realize our inevitable deaths,
don’t we then really have all the time in the world?
Impatience is something I see no good use for.
And I don’t think it’s so very hard to overcome.
Just use that brain of yours,
and go on living.
Humans, I think, seem to have an innate desire to simplify, and to simplify too much.
Liberal or conservative
Male or female
Black or white
Gay or straight
Catholic or atheist —
Good or bad
Worthy or unworthy
Happy or sad —
Love or hate.
There are too many to name.
We reduce immensely complex feelings and thoughts to only a few words
We push those words onto a categorical binary —
Then we worship it;
And condemn any who do not seem to fit,
Or who fall on the wrong side of the line.
My political views cannot be reduced to a word.
Not all liberals or conservatives think alike;
What is the purpose of this all?
For now we promote doctrines on shaky grounds,
Like a house without a foundation,
Rejecting one’s ideas simply because “You are not
In the same party as I” —
And to what end?
How are we to progress?
You may look at me and term me female,
And perhaps it is true that I am —
But since I was young,
I display “male-type behaviors”
And reject the female —
What say you now?
Stop and think.
My behaviors cannot be reduced to a word.
They cannot be categorized —
They do not dictate my gender or my sex —
So why do you care?
Why do I care?
And what of love?
You say I love you
To your father
To your sister
To your friend
To your lover —
Do you really presume to say
That every feeling is the same?
Love is a category
Not any one feeling.
So why is it that you judge
When I turn to a friend and tell him I love him
Or to a cousin?
Why do you assume?
Why do you care, if it does not involve you?
A person cannot be reduced
To good or bad
To worthy or unworthy
To sinful or pure
So why do we insist?
Can we not believe in each other
Simply as we are?
But that, too —
That is a form of simplification in its own right;
Is it yet impossible to break free?
Are humans innately unable to comprehend the world
Without reducing the whole to some of its parts
And losing all the significant intricacies in the process?
Even in the dead of night I know that I am not alone. Across time and space, memories always keep me company.
For instance, the memory of a brief but eternal plane ride, the one that set the gears in motion for us to become closer than we’ve ever been. The plane ride that led to the great bridge, to the two of us standing together at the water’s edge, to the terrifyingly vulnerable confession, and everything after.
That’s a good one.
Or the memory of her face that night, flooded with genuine surprise and delight and embarrassment all at once. It takes on a soft, pensive look as four hands run over the piano keys in the background. For a moment it almost overflows with love, but it doesn’t, because love can’t overflow – it builds, expands, acting as its own container, its own master, the pace of its growth only restrained by the being it fills, but always on an endless journey towards infinity.
That’s another good one.
Sometimes, I am kept company by other people’s memories rather than my own. The memory of a broken childhood, of parents angry or never there, of social harassment and tears and pain and rage and above all a single, desperate, unspoken question, still perhaps unanswered, a question that a human being shouldn’t even have to ask.
This memory is not mine, but it may as well be, because when I lay awake at night this memory comes to me with the same depth of emotion as my own.
Memories are strange. They can evoke happiness, or suffering, or a million other indescribable things. They are not always reliable – they can change, become corrupted, or lost into the vast reaches of the universe, to be recovered someday, or not. They can be shared, or kept hidden, or they may be public in the first place. But in any case, it is memory that sustains life.
After all, memory keeps dead people alive, and it keeps living people alive along with them.
And which one am I?
Does it matter, in the end?
Someday, you will be happy.
Someday you’ll live in a world where you are valued. A world where every person, every book, every movie, screams out I love you, a world that affirms your very existence, your right to life as a human being. A world of freedom and peace, a world where the sun shines bright and never goes down. A world where the curtain never falls. Where darkness is something unknown to man.
Someday you’ll live in a world where you don’t need me. A world where you don’t have to call me in the middle of the night crying. A world where you don’t have to silence yourself, restrain yourself to just looking at me with pleading eyes, hoping I’ll see your pain. A world where you don’t have to lie awake at night trying to understand… why. Why you exist. Why you suffer. Why nobody seems to care.
Someday you’ll live in a world where you are not alone. A world where you are surrounded by dozens, hundreds, millions of people who love you unconditionally. A world where you are understood, accepted, invited in with open arms. A world where you can talk freely, act freely, where you can put down your facade, your safety net, your wall. A world where you can simply be you.
Such a world doesn’t exist. I know that. I’m not naive. But hope doesn’t have to come from a place of innocence.
Sometimes, hope comes from a place of love.
And sometimes, hope is just hope. It doesn’t have to get any more complicated than that.
How many are left?
This is a loaded question –
Perhaps you don’t want to ask it,
Perhaps you don’t want to answer –
But there is so little time…
We must face it now.
So I ask –
How many generations are left?
How many years do we still have on this earth?
How many more children will be born –
And how many more children will die,
In school shootings and genocide,
After how many more promises and prayers,
How many more “we shall never forget”s?
How many living beings are left on the planet?
How many have we killed out of ignorance and selfishness,
And how many are left for us to kill – or save?
How many people still think we have the right?
How many tragedies are left before the end of the world?
How many more wars and fights and meaningless arguments,
How many people still must die?
And then, how many more times will killers try to justify their acts –
And how many more times will we accept?
We must ask these questions now,
While we are still here –
While we still have the capacity to change our answers…
Time is running out...