It is Sunday again, my designated writing day, and again one of those days when I don’t feel like writing, which is a sign that I have to write. I have a multitude of thoughts which I don’t know how I can express coherently, so I won’t even try.
I wanted to write about my anxiety, on how it persists chronically even though rationally there’s nothing to be anxious about. It is like my brain is simply conditioned to feel anxious. My therapist tells me that I am too used to being in a struggle so I don’t know how to handle not being in one.
I remember a story I recently read, about a tiger who was kept in a 12 by 12 feet enclosure while her keepers built a beautiful environment for her. The day it was ready they eagerly released her, and apparently she went into a corner of the compound and didn’t venture beyond 12 by 12 feet. It is a similar narrative to the elephant bound by invisible chains. I relate a lot to this, because I have learned no matter what my external conditions become I still feel limited by my past conditioning and fears.
But I woke up to the stories of Emma Gonzalez silently crying for 6 minutes and 20 seconds in front of a crowd and a TV camera. There is a terrible sense of guilt that I am trying to cope with my existential crisis while kids out there are dying, followed by more guilt because there are hundreds of kids who are also dying elsewhere but they don’t belong to a certain country or race and they will not be known. Both situations are terrible and one can argue that it is worse that violence is taking place in a supposedly civilised country where people are supposed to feel safe and yet I can also argue that it is already 2018 why are we still perpetuating violence and war regardless?
I feel hopeful for these activist kids, that they are a generation who grew up with the expression and interconnectedness of the internet, they will go great distances to achieve things that previous generations have never done before. I feel a complex ball of feelings that we adults have failed them but precisely of this failure they are stepping up to display what is possible. To us. Maybe there will be many of us who will wake up to the fact that we are and we can be responsible for our own politics and by extension, our future.
Recently I keep trying to surface my past, trying to remember when and what made me into this anxious person. I remember feeling naive idealism and a sense of anything is possible. I remember believing that great change can be done with deliberate intention and action. But these days I live with fear and a sense of cynicism.
I think about the kids, and I wonder if youth is extremely precious because there is a window when the world doesn’t feel that harsh and one has not experienced too much human idiocracy and conditioning to be both fatigued and jaded. I wonder if the right way to survive adulthood is to build a sense of creative resilience to withstand the cynicism that will inevitably come our way. I wonder if there is hope for someone like me to feel like a kid again.
I have lost my innocence and with it, my idealism but perhaps with enough work I could find a different way to perceive the world again.