Feelings with Ugly Roots

For today’s Microblogvember prompt, horrible, where to start? Stream of consciousness, I guess.

It feels like we are living through a horrible time. It is very easy to find negative things to think about, read about, and fear, without actually being directly affected by those things. People in the U.S. are dying (so-called “deaths of despair”) and life expectancy is decreasing. Changing climate presents a potentially scary future. Many don’t want to see it, but I think we need to think about how the world is going to change and how we can support each other. I think about privilege a lot, and about what I am owed. I used to think that working hard meant that I would have a house and build equity and retire easily. Most people where I grew up had a detached house — there were not a lot of apartment buildings. That felt normal to me for a long time. But now, living in New Jersey with a good salary, that feels like a fantasy (student loans don’t help). That used to make me angry, like how could I have a good job and not be able to afford a house with a yard here? I’m resigned to it now, and mostly ok with it. But the embodied emotion of it, the feeling that I’m owed something, is still sometimes present. It is an ugly feeling, toxic, because, taken to its extreme, it does not allow for potential future realities.

Anyway, I think about what it must have felt like to live in times before modern medicine and when regular people were (arguably) more tribal and (maybe) more corrupt, and that I live a full life and have the privilege to teach and learn from young people in my job. Related, I also think about this scene from Deadwood a lot:

Josh Fishburn @jafish