I've been thinking a lot about what Karl recently said. It wasn't written to me, or so I assume, but it's the type of thing I heard. A girl I liked for the wrong reasons told me that, or rather lectured me on it, as we walked the streets of Budapest alone, two Americans looking for a bar that felt comfortable. (That's a sentence with elements so overwrought that I hope you'll recognize it to be true.)
It stung then and it shut me up for a decent while. I've found myself fluctuating between silence and near-word-salad levels of verbosity. I don't say I'm eloquent, just as I don't say I'm strong. I'm capable of both poetry and strength, but I never guarantee them.
Anyway, the reason I write now is to express that I find my view narrowing. It unsettles me for one reason and one reason only--for it is comfortable. I leave before dawn, get home a little before dusk. Tend to my children. Put them to sleep. Cultivate intoxication. Sleep early. Get back to it. And I'm lucky. Very, very lucky. It's good work, shit I believe in. I like my co-workers. My bosses are the right mix of hands-off and "let me actually show you the shit I'm going to expect." It's the type of job I leave behind very easily. I come home and I feel clean, except for the actual, real, material filth. I ditch my clothes, wash my forearms, dress again, and I feel newborn. I sleep like a baby.
I'm waiting for the dissonance. I'm waiting for the maladaptation and the righteous indignation both, since my relationship with the world is both symptom of my virtue and my deep sickness. But it's not hitting me yet. Maybe the movement to a night shift will change that. I took on the job because I knew I'd work with people who were suffering.
But in the meantime, I feel so little. My mind has quieted. I feel drugged, and maybe I am, drugged on the return to lower-middle class, drugged on the promise of standing on my own for a little bit... Maybe I know why Hillary Clintons exist, because there is a deep part of me that wants to rush the technocracy. I watched my children, I depended on my spouse, I was devalued by the women and men who interacted with me. Mothers could not see me as providing some essentially feminine something to my children. Fathers could not see me as anything other than kept or lazy or submissive or scamming or faggy or something. Fuck them all, I want to say. Fuck every single one of you. I'll use the way I look and the court language I speak fluently and denied for so many years and I'll nestle up deeply to the side of the beast and I'll out-earn you all if I have the chance!
And yet I know how pathetic it is, for those of us who escaped or are descended from those who escaped from the working class. I've got it on both sides in a few countries. I'm made of emigres and exiles. And the thing is that I can't run too far into this mess because the power others had to make me feel pain isn't real power. It isn't war power. It isn't industrial power. It's the soft, brutal, social power, sure. But fuck. I'll actually let myself feel pity for some people rather than hate.
I don't know how much of this makes sense. What motivated my writing is reading so much brilliant prose regarding Libya and our state's continued abuses here and everywhere else. I've been in a bubble for a few weeks. All I've got to deconstruct is myself. I'm back inside the machine, and what people don't realize, what so many who "bought in" and tried to change things from the inside fail to understand, is that you're essentially blind. It is confusing and a little scary and the rope that is offered is a social one backed by economic power. You make friends or you don't. You accept new norms or you don't. You get indoctrinated, socialized, educated, whatever you want to call it 'cause it's all the same. Somehow I forgot what this was like.