I am lying here at 430 am in a small apartment in NM. I am here on a 2 day get away to allow myself a little r and r and a get away from the crowded scene of folks being released from covid jail. They come ready for travel and release. For the past 4 years I have felt overwhelmed, sad, scared, frustrated, guilty,and just over all exhausted. The killings of so many of my fellow black Americans, mass shootings, political chaos and covid has been enough to head me down a path of ptsd. The uncertainty and the blatant hate and uncivility of fellow humans has been almost more than a body and mind can bear. Yes I feel the need to run far away, to escape the madness, the news and put my hands over my ears and say “lalalalalalalala I can’t hear you.” Am I being selfish to want to care for me? to want to take care of my sanity? To bow out of the constant human chatter and talk of the next calamity?
There appears to be some sort of addiction to chaos at least thats how it appears to me. The human need to fixate on what is to befall us next. Enter the media whose job has become to keep us all on edge. The desire to pull away from all of this is real and takes me to an image of a hamster in a cage running on a wheel or a barrel of crabs where one tries to escape and the others hold him back for dear life. Self care and stepping away from the collective need for drama can give one a feeling of being selfish or uninvolved.
Society tells us suffering is the way to go. If one is not suffering then one is not paying a high enough price. If one is enjoying too much or living too free then of course they are not fulfilling their duty to be miserable. For women the music plays louder. Society asks how dare we take time for ourselves when our families need us, the world needs us. Who will take care of everyone? Who will keep all from falling apart? How dare we live a life that does not consume us with guilt? Every day i hear the same refrain from friends who have retired. I hear them say how happy they are now that they are free from work, free from a job that consumed them and they hated for so many years. Many look forward to that day when they no longer have to work and all the plans and things that will happen when they are free. Imagine having fulfilling work that feeds one’s soul where there is enjoyment? Is this what we have become? A human cog factory keeping the machine alive? Society has a lot of requirements to keep its machine running smoothly. Society needs its workers to give their all; their time, health and sanity. The more it eats, the more it wants. So many of us are guilted thru life with societal expectations. Walk that line or else. We are looked at with a side eye when we travel too much, spend too much, rest too much, remain child free, say no, or take time for the things we enjoy. we are not working or suffering enough. Of course we will have no idea when the astroid is about to hit if we are not glued to the news and that just might be a good thing.