Friday, July 15, 2011

Pollyanna McCriesAlot

On facebook earlier I said I would be blogging tonight. I finally got around to it. And I feel that because I teased with certain topics, I'm bound to talk about them.


I'm just going to blather, which I can do with remarkable ease, as previous posts on this blog would suggest. You get what you get. And if you do it, you'll just do it. Or something like that.

So I'm like, really concerned about:
1. the planet
2. human society as we know it
3. the economy, I guess?
4. serious stuff that is serious
5. the fact that having made this list, I won't coherently address any of the above at all

Here's the thing- I think most people who know me, even on an acquaintance level, would answer 'extremely optimistic' if given a survey on my general outlook on life. I really like to think that this is true. It is certainly the story I sing to the outside world. I also make my living (and do a damn good job, just so you know) trying to keep upbeat and positive for folks who don't have much of anything to be optimistic about. It is exhausting. I'm not complaining, I'm so happy I tripped and fell into an internship five years ago that would help define who I am and what I do. I can make a decent living meeting insanely interesting people and my life is great in perspective. But it's still fucking exhausting. And so, you know what, internet? I can get downright grim. Not depressed, not pessimistic, just...grim.

I don't cry nearly as much as I used to. Five years ago when I started at Bread and Roses in Olympia, I had nightmares for weeks. The third day in, a young family with two kids in strollers and a babe in arms showed up on our front porch and they had no where to go. No. Where. To. Go. Luckily some other co-workers took the lead with them as I rushed downstairs to just sob. And wail. And I called my mom later that night. And cried some more.

I hope I can make it clear that while this is a story about me, and my reaction to things, I get that it *isn't* about me. I have my health, my sanity, the love of friends and family, and a heck of a lot more options than that family had five years ago. But coming from that background, I was sheltered. Heck, I never even broke a bone (knock on wood). I didn't drink until I was 19. My parents are still together. It wasn't a perfect upbringing (whose the fuck is?) but I guess I'm trying to convey that now, having been exposed to a lot more, I realize all of the protection I've had from the world. The world can be a scary, cruel place, and lonely, too. I didn't know that.

And so yes, I have days where I just feel like I can't hear another story of how the world has failed someone. How we have failed someone. The elderly women who've either outlived their families or have shitty kids and are trying to survive on $800 a month for rent, medical bills, and retaining some dignity. The kids just aged out of foster care, who haven't known a loving home, have learning disabilities and not one iota of hope for themselves. The young mothers who deal with abuse and judgement from a society who won't educate them on sex but refuse to provide condoms in the schools. and then call them welfare queens for the crime of trying to get by. The outcasts, the mentally ill, the veterans of our insane lust for power and domination over the world. They call me sweetheart, angel, bitch and whore. I've been accused of racism, of not understanding their pain, of not caring at all. I'm a sister they loved, a mother they lost, an old girlfriend who got away. And so it goes, day in, day out.

So my optimism is my greatest bluff against a world I'm desperately struggling to understand. Sometimes I wonder if it'd be easier if I were religious. But it ain't happening. People are my religion. The thing that gets me up in the morning. And sometimes people make me cry.

"We must believe that it is the darkest before the dawn of a beautiful new world. We will see it when we believe it." Saul Alinsky


  1. I'm interested in the part about the world failing people. Can you elaborate on that? What would be a scenario where no one is being failed?

  2. That scenario I like to affectionately call, 'heaven on earth.'

    I think it's something to strive for. I'll never see it. It may never come. But I would rather live my life working towards such a lofty goal than sitting idly by while humanity suffers.

    I think we can work together. Feel that people are an investment, not a liability. We can literally *only* benefit when we support people with basic comforts such as shelter, food, health care and dignity. No one ever suffered because another was housed.