Our Suffering

My heart hurts. My body feels heavy. I don’t know what to do, sometimes, with the fear, grief and horror of living in a time like this.

In recent months, I’ve seen more footage and photos of dead and starving children in Gaza than I ever needed to see. I’ve seen photos of children so emaciated from starvation that they look like alien beings, not human children. People are losing their jobs for speaking up about this.

I just read that we are due for a mass coral bleaching event that is going to absolutely devastate our coral reefs in unprecedented. The ocean is heating at dangerously fast levels and this is going to have all sorts of direct effects on our lives. An amazing climate activist who I know is in jail for a month for the work she does here. Australia, like many places, has been cracking down on climate activists. Around the world, climate activists are killed at alarming rates. People are sacrificing so much to save the planet and yet I’ve never seen more vitriol directed at anyone.

In the US, nearly 65,000 rape victims could not get abortions according to a recent study. In the states where the law has exceptions for pregnancy caused by rape, you have to prove that you’ve been raped before you could get an abortion. Imagine having to prove you’ve been raped to cops and court in a system run by men. I have witnessed firsthand the ways that cops are utterly useless at helping women who have experienced male violence, I’ve seen the way they have perpetuated and caused more trauma. I know so many people who have experienced police violence firsthand.

People are living in tents, the cost of living is becoming too much, older women are the fastest growing homeless demographic and a lot of the conversations I’m having with people are about the depression era cooking tutorials they’ve been watching on Youtube as it gets harder just to get by. Meanwhile, my landlord owns something like seven properties and Coles and Woolworths keep making record profits.

There is a lot that isn’t right with the world. There is a lot that is very wrong. If you’re feeling depressed and sad, maybe you’re not sick, maybe there’s nothing wrong with you whatsoever, maybe this is your body, mind and heart telling you that things are not as they should be. We live in a culture that tells us we need to be happy, healthy and productive but as Gabor Mate points out in his fantastic book “The Myth of Normal” if most people are sick, maybe there’s something wrong with the world we’ve created.

Maybe your sadness is a sign that you have a soul, maybe our suffering is deeply interconnected and if we have any chance of surviving as a species, we need to stop pathologizing our pain and stop gaslighting and minimizing our suffering. We live in really fucking hard, dark, scary times. Let’s all be as kind and good to ourselves as we deserve and need.

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