I need this for a moment. I need to say this even if it is nonsensical, obvious, naive, simplistic, or all of the above. Not that this is any of these things, but in case it is, I do recognize it might be any or all of these things even if I cannot recognize which, if any, of these things it actually is.

Sometimes it feels like I'm feeling all the anguish that every human has ever felt, is feeling, ever will feel. No, not 'feeling it all,' that's not the right phrasing. Maybe: aware of it all. Or: I become aware that I can never be aware of it all and I can't breathe. Sometimes I fear we've entered a future in which everything is okay enough for enough people that we can ignore the anguish enough for long enough. Sometimes I can't ignore it. Sometimes I can't unsee it, can't unfeel it, and I can't breathe.

Thinking too hard about the immensity of the universe has a similar effect on me.

An astronomical amount of anguish. A galaxy of pain. Probability of an oasis: slim.

But it is, it is existent. As unlikely occurrences as Earth and human beings seem from a wholly objective vantage point (whose?), it happened. We're here.

So, too, do I believe in salvation. I have faith that the unicellular microorganisms of hope we find peppered sparingly throughout our lives will mature into complex, sentient life; that the tiny, ethereal fireflies we encounter every so often as we move through the pitch-black void will one day take on consciousnesses of their own; that they will choose to enter us, to fuel us; that they will exist in our every breath on their own accord.

I live to propel this process forward. Sometimes I try to feel no pain because I feel I must prove that it is possible. That there is a way. And I force myself around the anguish, attempt to lead by way of example.

But it isn't I that must be doing all the evading, altering my route at every juncture. It is the very fabric of the place that must change. The pressure to be a productive member of society, the pressure to match my gender identity and expression to my anatomical sex, the pressure to adhere to some prefabricated standard of decency, the pressure to love, the pressure to be well-adjusted, the pressure to have sex, the pressure to fit in, the pressure to exist at all; and worst of all, the pressure to concern myself with these facets of modern life and allow them to cause me pain. I am barely now developing a methodology for sticking to my path without always zigging and zagging, but all I could say about it is that it starts somewhere around the intersection of empathy and self-respect, and that it requires selectively ignoring the pressures of those facets. Not necessarily abandoning their endgames, but attaining their positive consequences on my own accord, at my pace, by my own volition. Without the pressure.

I write so that I might discover the correct methodology. I experiment: I fuse together the DNA of distinct breeds of hope; I breed novel species; I tinker and fiddle and I craft countless chimera, but I have yet to find success. The answer still eludes me.

I hold out hope.

*

I am often asked why I appear to be such an incurable optimist.

Answer: instinct. Answer: survival.

If I did not have hope, I would not be here. If I did not have faith, I would not be alive. I believe because I must. I believe because I must. I believe because I must.
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