Thursday, December 3, 2015

O and K

You have heard people say it over and over again.  You have heard me say ad nauseam.
“Everything is going to be okay.”
Don’t worry, I’m not here to tell you that it won’t be.  It will definitely be okay.  There’s only one problem with that.  Okay is such a low goal. We've been beaten down and conditioned to believe "okay" is some sort of fucking prize.  “Okay” usually means we are just scraping by.  You can talk to any average middle class person and they will tell you things are okay, and you can talk to some homeless junkie who lost a foot to frostbite and they will tell you that things are okay.  How can both those things be okay?
We are constantly told that life is unfair, that no one guaranteed us anything, but why should that be?  Most people are willing to work for what they want, most people are decent and ready to do their share.  I don’t think we are getting a good return on our effort though.  We have been conditioned to be happy with scraps, and told that we’re lucky we got that.  I think there is a vague dissatisfaction running through the general population of the world, and we are all doing our best to ignore it because it would drive us nuts to actually acknowledge it.
Worse yet, we are being manipulated into channeling that dissatisfaction with our own lot into anger against other people that are in the same boat we are.  History is one long litany of blaming our woes on others rather than the people in charge.  Be it Jews, blacks, immigrants and Muslims, gays or whoever the scapegoat of the week is, our past is full of this kind of behavior.  People like to blame immigrants for a lot of our woes now, but it’s nothing new.  They blamed the Irish, the German, the Asian and Italian immigrants and refugees in the past, and now those immigrant’s descendants blame the Mexicans and refugees today.  All because we don’t demand better for ourselves, we just try to deny things to others so we feel better about the crummy shit we get stuck with.  It’s absolutely disgusting, but what do we care as long as we’re doing okay?
I don’t know, in my case I would just like to do better than okay.  Sadly, I might be one of those people that just expect more out of life.  I never went the normal path of marriage and kids, and a lot of that was because I expected something more.  Not that there is anything wrong with having a family, but it just seemed “okay” to me on a lot of levels.  Don’t get me wrong, I had some fun along the way.  Living outside the norm has been exciting and interesting at times, but now I’m not sure it was the answer.  I just always thought that things weren’t right, that they could be better.  That there must be some better way for all of us to be doing things.
It doesn’t matter anyway.  We are told to stop complaining, our problems are minimized when we are told about others that have it worse than us so we should stop griping.  There will always be someone worse off, so instead of the rest of us being made to feel like assholes for feeling like we are getting screwed, how about we all just get to complain? How about if our feelings are validated rather than laughed off?  How about someone gives us some answers instead of making us feel guilty for asking the questions?
Some of us have been greatly wronged, abused and beaten, terrorized and treated like dirt, but we are made to feel weak if it breaks us or the damage shows through.  When damaged people act out because they feel they have nowhere to go or anyone to turn too they are usually mocked and called derogatory names.  
We all matter.  We all deserve respect.  We all deserve to have amazing, wondrous, thrilling, full lives.  We all deserve to be heard and loved and protected and treated decently.  Very few of us are, and many of us are so damaged that we can’t accept it if someone tries to give it to us.  
We have been made to feel guilty, afraid and ridiculous, and we have been marginalized to the point where many of us feel we that we really don’t matter.
Life seems full of things we HAVE to do, and not so much full of things we WANT to do, and we have been told that it’s normal.  We have been raised in a society run by a few powerful people to feel like that is how it should be and we are bad to even think that it might not be right.  We often turn on people that are just trying to make the world a better place.  
We are not being treated well, by our leaders, by our employers, by people in the street, by many of the people in our lives that claim to love us.  Most importantly, we are not being treated well by ourselves.  
We punish ourselves for things we feel, we deride ourselves for what we think, we deny the truths that we know in our hearts because we feel like we don’t have the right simply to be who we are.  How can we live that way?  No wonder there are so many people that feel they are crazy.  Living everyday of your life the opposite way you think you should be will do that to a person.  
What if we’re not wrong?  What if the way we feel is the they way we should be feeling?  What if that simple thing that would make you happy is something you actually deserve to have?  What if the pie in the sky notion about how the world should be is actually how the world should be?
As children we are told that we can be anything we want, but then as adults we are told to get our head out of the clouds and be practical.  We are told to have love and compassion for our fellow man, but when we need it we are told to “man up” or “put our big girl panties on”.  We are told to commit and care for our loved ones, but when they need us most we are told to shake them off before they drag us down with them.  We are proud of our shitty behavior.
All these things are presented to us in a way that is supposed to make us feel empowered and strong, but in reality they make us feel like shit inside.  They are presented as noble and necessary, but in reality is just us being afraid and being given the easy way out, and we recognize it in our hearts.  Most of the things we are told to do, to toughen up and watch out for ourselves, goes against who people really are.  We want to help, we want to provide comfort, we want to be those better angels, but the world forces us to be the exact opposite most of the time. We know it, and it eats away at us like a cancer.  
We hold up Jesus, and heroes, and martyrs as role models, yet act nothing like them.  We are told to share and give, to put others needs before our own, yet we act like spoiled, greedy, petty children afraid that something might be taken away from us and given to someone else.  We are told to help our fellow man by the same people that cheat and rob us blind, so what are we to think?
We are frightened and stunted, with no idea where to turn and who to trust.  We commit or allow great atrocities and we try to find things to make us feel good about it.  We are terrified of the people that are supposed to be protecting us, so we are happy if they are brutalizing some other group of people and we cheer them on.  We live in a near constant state of panic and blindly strike out at those around us when we are startled or shaken.  We fear the future and live in an idealized past because it feels safer, whether or not it ever really existed that way at all.  
Most of all, we manage everyday to lie to ourselves and do our damndest to make ourselves believe it because the truth we bury inside is almost too much to bear.  We look away and find any distraction rather than look life in the eye and stare it down.  We do everything we can, expend every bit of energy we have to just to avoid doing the hard things we know we should be doing, the life we should be living.  It is as much our own fault as it is rest of the world’s.
And we know it.  Inside, we know what we are doing, to ourselves, to others, to the future, to our world, but we just can’t stop.  We have too much invested in all the cognitive dissonance we’ve immersed ourselves in and we can’t turn back now.  So we will get by, we will go on this way, and we will be unfulfilled and full of self loathing and fear and guilt and horrible secrets we all share but don’t dare talk about.  Alone in world full of people just like us, all hiding behind false images and words.  We are all in on the plan, all playing our parts and pretending that it is not really happening while everyday we die a little more inside.
And we call it “okay”.

© 2015 David Ferraris

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