This morning in the elevator I saw someone with with a secret smile I recognized: that smile of someone who's just left the bed of someone he's mad for, or who has a date later with a massive crush. It was a smile I missed having, and I almost asked him about it, but felt it was obvious. He carried it all the way to the 15th floor.
I was in bad shape last night, and when I awoke--filled with that vague, crippling sadness--but I slowly worked myself out of it, until, upon arrival at work, I felt better. I have to be careful not to let it creep back in on me tonight.
This morning, I was sitting at the front desk with no computer--I couldn't log in because the person with the password was out. I wanted to see how I would do without its glare, its draw, its addictive properties. I was twitchy for a while, missing email and LJ, and the collective weight of everyone else's sadness.
And I wondered if that was in fact the problem: am I being dragged into the mire by being online so much?
Much like the endless viewing of CNN can solidify, and make impossible to shake, the horror of an event like 9/11; or like multiplication tables and religious dogma are force-fed to us and thus branded into the flesh of our minds forever, indulgence in daily weeping and praying and ranting and exposure to immense screaming bandwidths of information--pro-war, anti-war, every possible perspective, every conceivable possibility, every reality and paranoia and utopic vision--it weighs me down. It fills me with imparseable facts, a complete spectrum of opinion from which it is impossible to glean any truth, and a full gamut of painful emotions. Add to this that most of the people I read on a daily basis are friends of mine, whose opinions and feelings I care deeply about, all of whom are hurting in one way or another--inconsolably depressed, impotently angry, soul sick, numbed into quiescent indifference--of course it's going to affect me.
I'm upset about the war. Of course I'm upset about it. It's a cycle of upset: I'm crushed that we're over there, unjustly, bombing a decimated country; I'm frustrated that I can't feel more for people I am so far away from, and that my pity and horror means nothing coming from my place of privilege. I feel guilty for that same place of privilege and feel I have no right to any opinion about Iraqi or any other suffering. And then I feel so angry at my government, for only allowing their voices of greed and hatred and superiority to reach overseas, for making their voices of pomp and condescension, their ridiculous ideas of themselves as Saviors of the World, represent me, while my small voice of dissent and outrage and pity and sadness is crushed into a poor caricature of America to the rest of the world.
But that's not what's making me this depressed. I've shut off the wail of the world before; I can do it again.
It's my friends' voices.
From the most ardent peace activists to my least political and ambivalent friends, everyone is feeling this, everyone is frustrated
or feel helpless to do anything
, everyone's dreams
are being haunted
, everyone is overwhelmed
, and most of all, everyone just wants it to stop.
And I believe that this energy is not just cumulative but exponential, that all of this surfing and reading and very collective grieving is creating a cloud of fear and doubt and hatred and suffering, that we need to reach out to each other and spread some kind of positivity, that, whether I believe in it or not, we have to work some kind of magic, if not to stop this war, then at least to stop us all becoming casualties of it.
We are a community here, there's no doubt about that. Singly, we're all carrying our own wounds. Collectively, we're bleeding to death.
Is it time, perhaps, for us to fight our own war, against this darkness that's swallowing us all, day by day?