(I’ve felt so blocked for the last few years which is unusual for me. My head feels foggy, the executive dysfunction is real but I’m going to push past it because I desperately want to get back to a place where I can express myself more freely. I’m just going to… write and see what comes out. Here goes.)
Do other places exist anymore?
Lately, inside my head, it feels as if other countries are a false memory from the past and the concept of a bright future feels unlikely. Lately, I’m grieving ecologies and environments that no longer exist and an Amanda Palmer lyric echoes in my mind; “do you ever feel that everyone is slowly letting go?” These are feelings which I allow to move through me like water, I allow them to melt and move me but I also remind myself that they are not the whole truth.
Back in 2017, something inside me woke up. I stopped disassociating and started to look around me and what I saw was that we, our species, are in a lot of trouble. At this point, I realised I needed to do what I could to focus on my mental health and personal spirituality in an attempt to build my resilience for the things that I saw coming our way and so this has indeed been a big focus of mine. My hope has been to build a deep inner strength, a resilience that allows me to protect some sort of softness inside myself.
In a way that I’m still finding language for, protecting this softness feels like an important activist act.
Because one of the things I’ve feared most of all, as the world crumbles, is what it might turn us into. Traumatised and fearful people can become angry, violent, destructive. Fearful people often desperately cling to power to give themselves a false sense of safety and control. Frightened people put up walls, shut down, close off and I see this happening all across the world. Our tolerance for difference is decreasing.
In 2017, when I felt something inside me waking up, I knew that with the collapse of the precious interconnected systems – which have given us relative climate stability for a large part of our history as a species – would come the increasing of violence, fascism, war. I fear the loss, not only of beautiful and natural ecologies but also of the cultural ecologies which have allowed someone like me, a strange, queer, neurodiverse woman, to exist with some degree of openness about myself and who I am. I do not fear being stoned to death or burned as the stake but I wonder how long this feeling of safety will last. As worlds around me continue to fall apart, I perceive the real risk of losing the freedoms that so many fought for us to have and I suspect as countries start to sink under water, that many people will turn to old, vengeful gods. I suspect that as the world burns, many will start to blame witches, sluts and weirdos for angering the Gods with our sinful ways.
These things that I glean about our not too distant future make me want to go into hiding, to stop writing, stop making art and porn, stop sharing in ways that might run the risk of making me stand out. Fear makes me risk averse because the world feels so small now and there is nowhere left to hide. But that’s it, isn’t it? There’s nowhere left to hide so all we can do is stand our ground and protect what is precious to us. What is precious to me? The baby trees I am currently growing and nursing, the paintings I am working on, the beloved people in my life… the diverse and incredible lifeforms which inhabit this precious planet. Art, life, joy and love.
I think a lot about apocalyptic fiction and the sort of character I want to be from those stories. Mad Max: Fury Road comes to mind, specifically the woman who was the Keeper of the Seeds. This woman did not worship petrol or power for she was connected to our most important wisdom; the knowledge that life is the most precious thing that we have.
Protecting that softness inside me is a defiant act of rebellion against the forces which glorify and celebrate coldness and cruelty and which are driving the death machine that may destroy us all. That softness inside me… it is the feeling, knowing, wisdom part of me. It is the part which understands, as Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh said, that in order to want to fight for life on this planet, we must first fall in love with it. In order to love, we must stay soft somehow. Even as we harden and toughen for the things we face ahead of us, even as life feels shrunken and scary, we must somehow become more big, more open, more connected to the most important and beautiful things about us. In order to protect life, we must protect our light.