I had some more important revelations over the weekend and the picture of what's been going on with me is becoming clear. I think my indecision and anxiety over what to do with my spare time is a reflection of not knowing what to do about all the worst parts of the society I live in.
I know what needs to be done about climate change, but how the fuck do I go about convincing the people in charge to shut down all the big corporations and the U.S. military? I absolutely know we need to shut down the concentration camps and eventually all prisons, but we got multiple Democrats to tour the migrant concentration camps and everyone freaked out about it for a while and then what? Nothing happened.
The best I could probably do is to join local organizations that work to stop all or some of this evil shit, but I tried that and my social anxiety and general mental illness made that so difficult and I kept failing to go to meetings and sending myself into shame spirals over it. Then the one organization I was really close to joining shut down because the leader of the whole thing turned out to be a fucking sexual predator and the leadership was generally racist.
I have a terrifying sense of urgency butting up against a massive sense of despair. Even if I did manage to join some organization and do some thing, it feels like it won't be enough to stop mass suffering and death. Inaction on climate change continues. Fascism continues to grow. I get that sense of urgency and start trying to think of ways to fight back but anything I can come up with feels useless. The only actions that would be effective have to happen on a mass scale, but trying to get your average U.S. resident to get over the idea that rioting is as bad as murder and the only acceptable way to protest is to stand on a sidewalk with some clever signs feels im-poss-i-ble.
And that mindfuck has leaked into my everyday life. What is the thing I want to do the most? What is the best way to spend my limited time? What if I choose wrong and I'm wasting my time? AHHHHHHHHHH.
This added to the guilt around my inaction creates a breeding ground for anxiety and depression, which makes doing anything hard.
Should I use mass amounts of energy getting over all the anxiety hurdles to go to a meeting of my local Extinction Rebellion chapter when they're too pathetically small to do much of anything here and have also dedicated themselves to being toothless anyway? Even if I did find something good to join, would my awkward, silent presence be of any help at all?
It doesn't help that any decent activist organizations are all located in Seattle, where I can't afford to live.
There are things I could do from home to help but any commitment to that kind of shit sounds like it would become overwhelming in a minute, especially since I have such a hard time saying no and setting boundaries, and then I'm right back to feeling like shit for not doing enough.
I want my spare time to actually be relaxing and restful so that I can have the energy to do something, but it's not because even when I have nothing I need to do and no commitments, I feel anxious and guilty. I am mentally and emotionally exhausted.
All of this also explains my sudden fascination with medieval-type history and fiction. I'm desperate for something simple. Part of me longs for my world to be small and straightforward. And I definitely, like everyone else, love stories like Lord of the Rings because the problem is obvious and the solution is clear. If I could take a really long walk to drop some jewelry into some lava to save the world, I would totally sign up for that.
But it's not even close to that simple. I still don't know if Donald Trump is pure evil on his own or more of an ignorant puppet. There is no fellowship of odd warriors I can travel with to bring down the concentration camps, and even if I tried, I would be painted as evil for trying to hurt the innocent concentration camp guards and thrown into a horrific prison where I would probably die.
It sucks. It sucks being a small, largely powerless individual living a huge and hugely unjust world in which the powerful have made any effective act of resistance illegal or just impossible. I didn't ask for these anxiety disorders either, but our society gave them to me anyway.
So. My goal is to continue as I have been, focusing on improving my mental health as well as I can, and eventually start volunteering with Food Not Bombs to help feed my neighbors. I feel like that's the best I can do until things really start to go to shit and the mass protests begin where I am, which they will unless things magically reverse course, which seems very unlikely. I'm going to try to let go of the hero fantasies and realize that I'm just a normal human being with average limitations. Maybe someday I can do even better, but I only know who I am now.