In this post I’m going to talk about something that is difficult to talk about, but also very important. To me, it cuts to the very core of what it means to be human. The act of taking your own life. Humans are unique among the animals as in we are capable of deciding if we want to keep living or not. Do most people consider it a choice?
After spending the past four hours and a bottle of organic red wine (I’m learning a new skill) on the phone with all my best friends scattered all over the continents, I have come to the conclusion that I don’t hate humanity as a whole, I just hate society. So this is the dream.
I’m dead serious with this one. You might be able to tell from the amount of times I will use the word ‘asshat’.
Ok, so global warming is a thing. It’s happening. I don’t care what you call it or where you think it came from – it is happening, it is a thing.
I’m not an expert but even I understand this. In very broad strokes it means that the global temperature is rising, which leads to ice melting in places where it hasn’t melted before in human history. That leads to global ocean levels rising which spells trouble for all the coastal cities out there (where the majority of humanity lives.) It leads to warmer oceans which is troubling for all the coral reefs out there, where the majority of marine life start their food chains. Warmer weather means more droughts which leads to desertification of land. Less lakes and trees and plants. Bad news for humans. Mass-extinction of species is also happening, which humans eventually could be one of the unlucky ones. Very bad news all around.
But this is all kind of happening slowly, so it kind of falls outside our definition of ‘news’. News in 2014 is something that happens very fast, with lots of developments and plot twists, and something that is usually over in a couple of days. The only way to make global warming news is to ask what people think, because opinions are news too, dontyouknow. Luckily for news stations everywhere people seem have a lot of opinions in 2014! And, boy, are they encouraged to voice them.
I first started to take notice because of Yelp. Don’t get me wrong, I rely on Yelp as much as the next person when finding a competent doctor or just the phone number to a particular restaurant but once you are on Yelp you can’t help but read the reviews. Some are funny, some are unfair, some are helpful but mostly they tend to be very long. Like seven paragraphs long. About buying frozen yogurt. I mean, dude, it took you five times longer to bitch about your yogurt-buying experience than it did to eat the damn yogurt. So I thought, maybe this is a sign that deep inside every person is a writer that is just dying to spring forth and release literary genius on unsuspecting window shoppers online. Because people put a lot of effort into these reviews – how they were greeted, who they were with, what they ate complete with pictures, and whether or not they got free birthday desert. Clearly stuff of vital importance to no one. And then it hit me, this is not about writing – if they liked writing they would get a blog – this is about having opinions.
And then I started noticing it everywhere. This excessive plea for uneducated opinions. I like to watch crime shows like 48 Hours (they have them on YouTube) and after each 45 minutes episode laying out evidence of murder that usually ends with conviction, the show will end in a dramatic voice over: “Do you think s/he is guilty? What would you have voted if you were on the jury? Chat now with Twiddlebum on Twitter and Facebook!” And without fail I get angry. Because for once, in a shut-and-done murder case, it is perfectly okay to not have an opinion. All I know of this case is what the TV show showed me, I don’t have access to the evidence and I haven’t spend months or years reading up on it, so I’m pretty sure my opinion is completely invalid right now and for all foreseeable future. And that’s ok! It is totally ok not to have an opinion on every little thing.
But, oh no, the media can’t have that. They want to know what you think of celebrities dresses on the red carpet, they want to know what you think of politics, of wars, of movies, and of science. Millions of people actually spend money to vote on reality shows like American Idol and the countless imitators that came after. We have been conditioned to have so many fucking opinions on unimportant shit that now we seem to think we can ‘opinionize’ our way out of global warming by simply choosing to ‘not believe’ in it.
I don’t need to show you the reports by actual scientists who spend their days, years, and decades studying the actual conditions of planet Earth. Most of them are saying we are past the point of no return and even if we stop polluting today, there will still be repercussions felt by future generations. Plastic, toxic and acidic are the legacies we leave behind. And it’s cool not to want to change our behavior. That’s valid choice. But at least we should own up to that choice and stop hiding like cowards behind all these opinions.
P.S. Turns out ‘asshat’ isn’t such a big part of my vocabulary as I thought when I started this. But that’s ok. Go on Yelp. You’ll find them. In fact, you can’t miss them.
If you’re as fed up with the ridiculous mainstream media as I am, check out my guide to finding real news on YouTube. Breaking the Set’s Abby Martin remains my spirit animal. After all, we are both 30 year old angry white women with a lot of opinions ;)
I read on average about a book a week. Sometimes a particular book will take me three weeks to finish, and other times I devour three books a week, making a conscious choice to choose reading over all other activities. But mostly reading is just a natural part of existing for me. I read in bed at night, I read in the bathroom, I read while I eat or wait.
I’m not a book snob. I read pretty much anything but I think I’m particularly drawn to biographies and true crime. But I space that out with literary fiction, young adult fiction, pulp fiction, horror, how-to guides and non-fiction of all kinds. I’m addicted to reading because it adds layers to my world that I otherwise wouldn’t get to experience, and I read to understand all aspect of the world. The world, of course, usually means people. I’m not very good at making friends with people who aren’t already a lot like me, with vastly the same experiences, so I read to understand the people who inhabit the world that aren’t like me.
Since I love to read so much, writing came equally naturally to me. I thought it was just what people do. I didn’t think it required a particular talent or anything. Like most writers, I don’t think I’m too good at it so reading a lot of the time feels like masochism – all these people are such wonderful writers so why should anyone want to read mine. Wah, wah, right. But secretly I love that the world is so full of so many talented writers willing to share their unique experiences. Continue reading
I used to travel the world with songs like these on repeat. I think if I have an addiction it is the beginnings of things. I liked drifting from city to city, always just a visitor. I do not put down roots anywhere. There is a tantalizing sadness in not belonging. A sweet ache deep in your stomach knowing that you possess absolute freedom but at a cost not many people is willing to pay.
For almost four years I forgot what that feeling was like. I made a beautiful home in a beautiful place with my love. There was no money to travel. I didn’t mind. I was so focused on following The Path. Finish school. Get a job. Make money. Save money. Because money is key, right? I lasted less than two weeks. That sweet ache in the pit of my stomach returned with such a vengeance I couldn’t breathe. The twist being, of course, that now I was too connected. I was no longer a ghost floating above earth. I was a solid shape that left footprints. “Run away, just run, start over,” the ache tells me. But at some point there is no more running away. Too many decisions has lead you here. Student debt and all the knowledge that came with it have narrowed down my infinite possibilities to just a handful of possibilities. Not to mention I actually love my husband and our home, and the world would be even more of an empty void without them.
That’s new. If running away, ignore, start over, isn’t an option then all that is left is me. And if I have to stay, really stay on this planet in this existence, the one thing that doesn’t make me want to lie down and die, is being a writer. All my life I always assumed that at one point, one day, I would become a writer but I have never actually made the decision to be a writer. I know that doesn’t sound like much but it’s a huge thing for me. This time last week I couldn’t stop crying and life seemed absolutely pointless and painful to boost. Then it finally clicked. If this is what I want to do, just do it. When I was 20 and the ache got too bad, I just left. I made the decision and I left because leaving was easier than staying. Goodbyes were heartbreaking and beautiful. I left because life should be about infinite possibilities and I couldn’t find them where I was. So I made the decision again. I am going to be a writer. There is no plan B anymore. Do you know what that feels like?
Infinite possibilities, but better. Because if I fail, I still have a life that I love.
And this album is amazing. Get it.
i like songs about drifters / books about the same
they both seem to make me feel a little less insane
walked on off to another spot
i still haven’t gotten anywhere that i want
i know that starting over is not what life’s about
but my thoughts were so loud i couldn’t hear my mouth
modest mouse – the world at large
album: good news for people who love bad news
As a curious atheist with only an academic interest in religion I have over some time now come up with the following working theory: celebrities are modern day gods. I think it makes perfect sense. I mean, it really is the only way to explain the amount of coverage someone like Kim Kardashian is able to receive in a time where we have so many actual problems facing our existence on this planet.
We have more media than ever before, for the first time in history being published doesn’t cost anything. We have phones, tablets, computers, TV and radio are still hanging in there – all designed to give us lightening fast access to information. And wouldn’t you say about roughly 70% of that time spent on these devices is spent talking about ourselves (Facebook), improving our image (Instagram) and gossiping about celebrities and the latest corporate media distraction/sensation?
How did we get here?
The fall down the rabbit hole is a long one – and often very painful. Once you start to deconstruct reality around you, you tend to alienate a lot of people. They are perfectly adjusted and don’t need your philosophical musings, thank you very much.
Vote with your dollars is something you will hear well-meaning sustainability-leaning people say a lot. I used to. I still do, to an extent, but it took a long time to realize just how difficult that is.
The idea behind voting with your dollars is to put your money where your values lie. If you are against animal testing on cosmetics, you make sure to only buy cosmetics that are not tested on animals. Easy, right? Not so fast. Did you know that The Body Shop (the most famous worldwide company for natural and ethically produced beauty products) is owned by L’oreal? I didn’t, and that’s when I tumbled into this particular rabbit hole. Continue reading