Amanda Quraishi writes...

Popular opinion is oppressive. That is why the best thinking, art, music, writing and self-expression always happens on the margins of society and/or within spaces away from which ‘just anyone’ is allowed to participate.

Some mistake this for elitism. It certainly can be if it’s being done by people who sincerely believe they are inherently better than others. But mostly, I think, it’s a form of artistic and creative self-preservation.

Those who have produced truly great things almost always find enclaves of like-souls with whom they can express themselves freely, and without judgement — engaging throughout their imperfect processes and without the burden of having to perform for the fickle, intolerant or unfulfilled masses who are simply looking for, at best a diversion; at worst, things to criticize in order to relive their own existential discomfort.

I think many people who lack this kind of community, or who are yet to find their enclave have made a decision to simply walk alone. It’s better to be lonely than to be oppressed, creatively or otherwise.

Society almost always views creativity in terms of product. True creatives understand it as process. And process is something that requires time, experimentation, mess and confusion.

Process is as much about the creator as it is about the creation.

Process is about the expansion and evolution of the self as an instrument of creativity. It can’t happen in spaces where we are forced to conform to the lowest common denominators of expression, morality, or identity.

It doesn’t require affirmation or the engines of affirmation that society provides for those who are lost, insecure or unable to resolve their creative impulses. The creative process affirms itself. It is recognizable on a cellular level and undeniable to anyone engaged with it.

In the same way that religious communities want to ‘own’ the spiritual lives of their adherents — placing each individual person under a yoke of dogma, controlling the unique spiritual impulses that are the birthright of every single human being — so does popular culture do with creativity.

But anyone with an authentic spirituality who has walked the path alone can tell you that no one has a goddamn thing to say about their beliefs or experiences in that realm. Same is true for creatives.

To have fully engaged with your creativity means owning a part of yourself that is untouchable by opinion. It is tantamount to personal spiritual realization. NOTHING and NO ONE can take it away from you.

Not that they won’t try. But when faced with the choice between meeting public approval and fully embodying the vivid, technicolor existence that you were born for, it becomes easy to shrug and walk away from other people’s demands for conformity, their litmus tests for belonging, or their controlling criticism.

It’s not always an easy path, and the truth is that you may never be popular. (At least, not in your lifetime.) But you will be truly living.

And honestly, what more do you want out of life?


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Periodically I take long breaks from drinking from the fire hose of social media, and it’s during these times that I realize with great poignancy how little value there is to be found in the constant drumbeat of self-analysis (personal and communal) that has come to dominate public online discourse.

As an enthusiastic consumer of all types of media it has started to feel as though we are drowning in egos; dissolving into a million fragments of artless navel-gazing and opinion. With every ‘think piece’ and ‘long read’ I feel less informed, and more assailed by someone else’s desperate need to be seen and heard.

Media and the personalities that define these spaces have devolved into an arms race for attention among creators with their constant cries for recognition, validation and confirmation of their deeply held beliefs. While it’s often dressed up in terms of critical thought and the pursuit of justice, this trend of personalizing every trial, tribulation and trauma in society feels like it’s just another reason to talk about ourselves in the most adolescent way.

The copious digital prophets of doom, splashing in their puddles of cynicism are more interested in having their personal fears read and shared than in doing anything productive about them. The reactive, hostile takes about who and what is wrong, and why everything is falling apart — not because of those who are most vulnerable by bad policy and politics — but because the author’s ideals are not embraced by others, over whom they wish to feel superior.

The desperate clinging to identity, and the insistence that suffering as a virtue entitles one to more and larger audiences resulting in digital pissing contests.

For me, the most compelling art, music, literature and journalism is that which removes the creator from the center of the work and treats any creative product as discovery.

True genius (which I’ve had a rare opportunity to encounter in my forty-seven years) tends to operate in a state of awe at their own ability to receive and convey creative energies in a unique way. That is the reward for engaging in the creative process.

It is an honor to stand as a lens through which pours universal truth and light.

Creative corruption, however, occurs when they begin to look at this as their own personal source of power, and one that they should command according to their desired ends. Yet, even if one enters the digital fray with this kind of creative purity, I think it becomes impossible not to sully it with the addictive pursuit of higher and higher scores in the game of online thought supremacy.

Today, we see the commodification of creativity now at its peak. We’ve captured the magnificent beast that is artistic inspiration and penned it up, letting it out only when we think we are able to fully control it, and only to produce something that serves a predetermined agenda — whether it be political, social or economic. We’ve sanctioned a handful of elite creatives to frame the public discourse — those who can create our respective authorities’ desired propaganda on demand — and given them a societal stage that they may occupy conditionally.

The creatives who have found respectability and a paid occupation in this modern world are more often than not as aware (subconsciously, at least) of their own enslavement to the guarantor of their incomes, and the opinion of a public which is itself increasingly focused on ego gratification. They are aware of the unwritten rules — lines that must not be transgressed — marketability, bourgeoisie sensibilities, popular moralizing and the need to never, ever be seen as a political liability.

Perhaps this adds to the anguished navel-gazing. The sense of being confined, of having their creative impulses forever at the mercy of some agenda that diminishes the power of their art.

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Not tolerance for other people (that’s a different blog post all together), but tolerance for our own discomfort. For being stuck, waiting for news, feeling uninspired. It’s about those periods in our lives when we don’t know what to do, and we feel like we might go mad because there’s nothing productive we can do to relieve our existential angst.

Most of the time we try to address this feeling by distracting ourselves or hitting the lever on the dopamine machine in whatever ways we prefer — food, sex, alcohol, drugs, Netflix — pick your poison.

And when the drug of choice wears off, or when we get sick of our own escapism and we still don’t have a way out, we get mean. Or self-obsessed. Or passive-aggressive.

Most of us are living in a state of intolerance for the discomfort we feel about not knowing, or doing, or being everything for which we inherently know we have the potential.

And instead of waiting patiently, working methodically toward opportunities or goals — we writhe and scream and stamp our feet and throw our cosmic tantrums and then settle in with an XL pizza and a remote control and try to ignore it. Or jump on the internet and talk shit about people who we feel it is safe to criticize.

But I’m thinking there’s a better way, and that way involves the least fun thing we can think of: tolerance.

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Over the past few weeks I’ve been limiting my engagement with other people (as I periodically do) in order to focus on personal projects, and to give my heart a rest from the non-stop, 24/7 shit-show that makes for public discourse these days.

Unlike my previous social sabbaticals, though, I am struggling to use this time to myself productively.

Granted, for someone like me struggling to be productive means *only* reading four books at a time; listening to a podcast series; doing The Artist’s Way 12-week program; volunteering; taking tai chi; and writing the story of my religious life (in addition to my home and family responsibilities). But still. I haven’t found a new job yet, and time has stretched out before me in a way that has removed the urgency from my efforts.

It is sobering.

Sobering because it has finally begun to dawn on me that my life is actually purposeless. Or rather, that my purpose is to just be the best version of myself that I can; and then, die. (Not unlike literally everything and everyone else in the universe.)

Sobering because it means that I’ll never again be able to fill my days with busyness in order to distract myself into believing I’m doing something cosmically important with my own little turn at sentient being.

Sobering because the implication of not having some grand purpose for my life means that there is no other priority for me besides what I can do right now. I don’t have the excuse of something more important that needs my attention, or some lofty pursuit that excuses me from seeing what needs to be done in my closest spheres of influence. There is no great destiny — aside from the great destiny of being, as I am.

In Zen, the idea of aimlessness (apranahita) is considered one of the three doors to liberation. What does this mean for those of us who have spent our lives trying to solve problems ‘out there’ and ‘fix the world’?

It means that we’ve been going about it the wrong way.

Aimlessness doesn’t mean ‘being lazy or ineffectual’. Rather, in the Zen tradition, it’s about effacing specific ideologies, solutions, or outcomes so that I can be fully engaged with the world around me; doing what I must, without the benefit of believing in a ‘higher purpose’ for myself.

But how, you may ask, can the human race get anything done this way? If everyone is just wandering around aimlessly, how do we actually solve problems?

The key, of course, is to allow ourselves to be guided by our moral and ethical commitments to attend to what is happening in each moment, and to the best of our limited abilities. We know that the world is full of pain, suffering and despair. Our responsibility to ourselves (and to one another) is to address the suffering over which we can actually have a direct impact.

How bizarre is it that I’ve spent so much time and money working on theoretical problems, trying to solve problems for people I’ve never met, while the people living across the street from us may be suffering and in need of help? How often have I ignored the homeless person on the side of the road because I had to get somewhere and do something important?

Imagine a world where we all met each moment and every circumstance with openness to helping the people right next to us; abandoning our dogmas, embracing wisdom — the ability to read the specific needs and context of the moment — and then choosing our response in a way that serves the unique needs of the time and place in which we stand.

The truth is, the challenges facing humankind are limitless. Solving them will never come from a single approach or system or dogma or theory. The world will become whole when flexibility, creativity, humility and compromise become our modus operandi, allowing us to meet one another in the moment to address THIS problem. The one that is right in front of us. And then the next one. And the next.

It’s impossible to know the future. It’s impossible to see what is coming next. The duration of our time here is uncertain. Understanding this means abandoning hope that we will remake the world in our image and solve the very problems that may have caused us immense personal pain and loss.

But we are not helpless, nor hopeless.

What is required is courage to give up on our delusions of grandeur and stop hoarding our love, creativity, money, time and compassion as if the world will someday become more worthy to receive our gifts than it is today.

In the words of one of my teachers:

Plunge into it all Open to it all Forgive it all Offer it all

After all, we’ve nothing to lose.


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There is no greater joy.

There is no greater responsibility.

There is no greater fear.

There is no greater pride.

Motherhood is hard. Done right, it takes everything out of you.

It changes you, pushes and pulls you in to a shape that feels familiar and alien all at the same time.

Having watched my mom and my mother-in-law in action, however, I realize that each mother gets to make the role their own. So despite the fact that I regularly have no idea what the hell I’m doing, I’ve embraced it and done my best.

That said, I don’t always recognize myself as a mother. Sometimes I’m shocked to realize that these young people living in my house look at me that way.

I’m often delighted to discover that, even as adults, they still want me to hold them, pamper them and give them silly little encouragements that I know they don’t *really* need.

But I’m so very happy to do it. Always and forever.

I regularly talk about my mom and mother-in-law online, but I don’t often discuss my own adventures in motherhood or my relationship with my children. It feels too precious for public display.

But I want to make it clear this fine Mother’s Day that my children are the single most important thing that has happened in my life. I love them more than I love myself — or anything else, really.

Nevertheless, I’m acutely aware (and have been since the very beginning) that my kids aren’t *mine*. I don’t own them — no matter how much time, energy and money I have invested in their care. I’ve had the enormous privilege of bearing them and nursing them and supporting their growth; but these two are their own people — and they have been since they popped out of my irreparably stretched-out belly.

The choice to become a mother is a sacred, inalienable right that every person capable of bearing a child deserves to exercise when, where, and how is best for them and the child.

The work is great, the load is heavy; it alters you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Each child comes to the world with their own set of needs and demands, requiring us as mothers (still the overwhelming majority of primary caretakers of infants and young children) to educate ourselves and adapt quickly — regardless of who we are and how qualified we feel.

Motherhood is not a choice anyone else can make for you.

It is a sacred decision to allow one or more other humans to use your body, mind and heart for the rest of your life; as needed, often without warning.

I love being a mother.

I love that I was able to choose motherhood when I was in the best position to give my kids what they needed to thrive.

I love that I’m able to know and understand myself better through the rigors of motherhood.

I love that my children surprise me daily with their awesomeness in every stage of their growth and development.

I love that I learn more about how to love and appreciate my own mother through my children.

Please understand, I’m not using words like “sacred” and “choice” in any hyperbolic sense.

What I am saying is this:

The government of the United States of America doesn’t factor into any of this.

The Motherfucking End.


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As I’m coming out of the darkest depressive episode I’ve had in a decade, I’m starting to reflect on my despair. I spent a long time staring out of windows and curling up in the fetal position this year.

For months I thought that perhaps I was going to be lost for good. I was frustrated with myself because I couldn’t make myself feel “hopeful”.

You see, most of my life I’ve been operating with an idea of hope based on cultural and religious ideals which are simply not mine — where anything can be overcome with enough positive thinking and inspirational quotes. Where Someone is coming to save you (if you pray hard enough); and where hope is an indicator of the strength of your faith.

I’d been indoctrinated from birth with the idea that hope is the one thing that can make you feel better when everything is at its worst. That hope is an emotion– uplifting and full of power.

A Shepard Fairey poster with Obama’s face staring ‘hopefully’ to the future; a greeting card featuring a scripture and an illustration of light breaking through the clouds; a shelter to rest in when you need to hide from the evil that you encounter in your life.

I thought I was hopeless, because for most of this year, I had no assurance that anything was going to improve. No reason to believe that I was going to come back out of the hole. I was sad. I was angry. I was desperate; and the weeks crept by, with no end in sight.

Was I hopeless? Turns out, I was not.

Hope, you see, is not a good feeling. Not for me, anyway.

Instead, I found that my hope comes in ugly, cracked and weird packages. It’s dreadfully imperfect (though is often exactly what I need in the moment) and it feels like hell.

My hope is not a reason. It’s the thing that keeps me going despite feeling like there is no reason to keep going.

My hope isn’t the erasure of fear, or sadness, or anger. Nor is it a safe space. It’s the little talisman I hold in my sweaty palm as I traverse unsafe spaces, and accept realities that terrify me.

My hope is a tiny foothold on the sheer face of a cliff— providing just enough room to risk taking another step.

Hope is a shitty little life raft that I cling to— the thing that keeps me afloat just long enough to send up a flare for the help I need.

Oh, I have hope. It doesn’t belong on inspirational posters, and it won’t give me strength and courage and the ability to defeat the armies of darkness.

What it will do, however, is keep me alive.

Despair isn’t a moral failing. Nor does it mean you have no real hope left in you. It means that you’re no longer placated with ideas and easy answers that have no basis in reality. It means you’re ready to work through some of the hard questions, and that you’re more interested in truth than comfort.

It may not sound that great, but in retrospect, I’ll take the harsh reality and function of true hope over the greeting-card-scripture-quote-fantasy-kind any day.

I hope you understand.


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This morning I woke up at 5:45am to the sound of rain. I then drove down to the sweet little house that belongs to my zen community and sat in meditation for an hour. After which I joined several of these lovely folks for tea and conversation at a comfy coffee shop down the street. After that, I met a dear friend for breakfast and had one of the most nourishing, affirming, and loving conversations I’ve had in years.

If you know me, you know I’ve struggled with the ideas of community and belonging for my entire adult life. I’ve been in dysfunctional and abusive communities; I’ve also been without community for long periods, wandering in the wilderness, talking shit to the lizards, and doubting I could ever really belong anywhere.

I allowed myself to be indoctrinated into ‘Community, Inc.’ – the industry that employ tactics and levers of professional community-building – because I desperately wanted to be part of things that ultimately didn’t want me.

Not everyone belongs in every community. Just like we can’t all personally be in a healthy relationship with just anyone – we have individual needs, values, priorities and gifts that belong among those who understand and share them.

This isn’t about judging communities as good or bad. (Though certainly all communities have challenges, and are at different stages of health and usefulness.) It’s about realizing that part of your life’s work is finding where you belong and can be the best version of yourself.

What I now refer to as ‘my community’ is an amorphous web of individuals and groups which have congealed around my true self (as opposed to my ego), and who reflect my heart. It doesn’t fit into a tidy box, and it’s not institutionalized. It’s an organic network of loving kindness and genuine care.

It’s taken me years – decades – to find ‘my people’ and I’m happy to report that I have, and they are an assortment of beautiful, scarred, simple and kind folk. Also, they love me – the real me!

So how did I arrive at this place of abundant kindness and joyful humanity?

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In the same way that dehumanization paves the way for every kind of atrocity against humanity, I think much of the cruelty and abuse we inflict on our living planet and it’s non-human inhabitants is the result of detachment – fostered by our collective ego and the egocentric trappings of modernity.

I also believe that many so-called ‘spiritual’ belief systems we depend on for our existential comfort contribute to this by creating a false duality between our current lives and some ‘afterworld’ – indoctrinating us to believe that our priority as humans is to pursue an existence completely separate from this planet. In other words, Heaven is a pipe dream and…something, something… opiate of the masses.

Unlike many non-theists, however, I do believe there is a profoundly spiritual element to our existence. You can find it in almost any tradition if you read between the lines of human aspirations for power masquerading as religious dogma. These traditions tell stories in ways that allow us to visualize concepts that aren’t easy to describe. (Some people like to take these as literal and turn them into idols – but that’s a different discussion for another time.)

My budding Zen practice has helped me recenter and reorient my whole self – physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual – around the idea that we are not some separate, special creation made in the image of some male-centric, authority figure modeled on patriarchal, tribal cultures.

Instead, each of us are a particularly beautiful, inextricably connected manifestation of the natural world with infinite potential; born to fully inhabit each perfect moment during the cosmically short time we are alive.

Living well means our engagement with other humans, the planet, and the billions of non-human life forms that live alongside us, is a symbiotic dance in which we take our cues from one another (both subtle and gross), and respond in ways that demonstrate the truth that we are, all, one.

The Golden Rule, in its simplest and most elegant form; extended to all things, at all times.

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I never wanted to be on Twitter in the first place. Back in 2007 I signed up and tried it for about five minutes, then promptly forgot about it. In 2008, however, an old friend of mine convinced me to give it another shot. I created a new account – @ImTheQ – which has been a large part of my online identity ever since.

During the last fourteen years I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Twitter. When Obama was elected in 2008, aided in large part by leveraging social media, and the Arab Spring took off in 2010, I truly believed that this is what we old-school webheads had been hoping for: a free and open channel for every human (with internet connectivity) on the planet, to be able to communicate, organize and respond to events as they unfolded. Power to the people – online and off! Those were heady times.

Millions of individuals around the world began flocking to Twitter, and I made some amazing friends in those years. Organic topical trends, live-tweeting appointment television, and opportunities to meet people with no agenda except being part of a chaotic, cacophonous, global conversation were the culture.

We should have known that there was trouble brewing, but we were all so in love with our collective and the potential of unprecedented connectivity that we overlooked the repercussions of what would become what it is today.

So what happened? Here’s a short list of things I think contributed to Twitter becoming a hellscape:

  1. The success of the 2008 Obama digital campaign was a double-edged sword. Suddenly, for-profit, non-profit, criminal and political orgs of all kinds grasped the potential of using a porous, global medium that is hardwired for marketing to accomplish their own goals – benign, or not. Twitter became a machine, with ‘influence’ depending on the size of your following and the amount of outrage you could provoke in them for any cause or purpose.

  2. In an attempt to attract advertisers, Twitter began tweaking algorithms and prioritizing content for us. This ended up creating an imbalance where millions of voices were ignored for the loudest, most aggressive, powerful, and/or wealthy.

  3. American media and journalism moved onto the platform almost ubiquitously, in large part to combat the erosion of their readership (as platforms began to enhance their UIs to keep people on them for as long as possible), and loss of ad revenues (because of the digital advertising model), turning it into a broadcasting platform that was about generating clicks and capturing attention. No longer was it about the people – it became about content and the attention economy.

  4. Twitter at some point decided that collaborating with law enforcement and government agencies around the world was a good idea, thus destroying any credence they had as being a tool of the people.

By the time Donald Trump came around, aided and abetted by an army of Russian troll farms entrenched in the soil of the ways of state propaganda, we were ripe for abuse on a grand scale.

The great downward spiral of a once hopeful platform can’t be attributed to any one person or group of people. Everyone played their part. Twitter is addictive, built for speed, and frictionless. It keeps you there, doom-scrolling day and night. The culture prizes vitriol, snark and dogma. All of this happened gradually until it was no longer possible to engage in anything close to a conversation. Most of my time there at the end was retweeting content and delivering one-liners.

Listen. Some good things happened on Twitter. Good things happen all over the world within shitty systems. But I posit that the good that came from Twitter was *incidental* to people using it. People find a way, always. The Black Lives Matter initiative and #MeToo are a testament to the desire of people to come together around things that matter to them.

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Well, friends, another year is rapidly coming to an end – a year filled with annoyances, frustrations and irritations over which I have valiantly attempted to avoid spreading negativity by limiting my public gripes. However! In the grand tradition of Festivus, the time has come to air my grievances for 2022. 

This year I’m giving you twenty-two of my top grievances: some large, some small, all legitimate as far as I’m concerned. 

Consider this an invitation to air your own grievances, here in the comments, on social media, or anywhere you can find a sympathetic ear, for The Airing of the Festivus Grievances is about catharsis. It’s a chance to get some shit off your chest and go forth into a new year having unloaded hard truths upon the people who have cramped your style. 

*~*~*~ Please note: if you find yourself disagreeing with me about any of my grievances, you should know I have no interest in hearing about it.

And now, without further ado…

The Arrogant Hubris of American Journalists

Listen. I’m a huge 1A advocate and a believer in the essential value of a free press in a democratic society. But Jesus H. Christ on a stack of old newspapers, y’all. You are taking up way too much air time on social media. In fact, I think you may have missed the memo that online communities are not your God-given broadcasting channels and you aren’t owed attention, audience, or authority there. The fact that so many of y’all are out there demanding things from platforms as if they exist to help you do your job is preposterous to the point of embarrassing. Especially on platforms like Mastodon that have been built by communities themselves. Shut up. Pay attention. Report on what’s happening. Offer your commentary and if it’s good, we’ll pick it up and carry it all the way down the field for you. But this bullshit attention whoring and self-aggrandizing has got to go.

The Mall

This one is fresh in my mind because I just went to the mall in a city far from home, desperately seeking a last-minute gift for someone I’m visiting over the holidays. The mall is a homogenized hellscape of mediocrity, crass consumerism, overpowering, artificial smells and germs galore. I try my best to not go there, but every time I do I end up regretting it. The last time the mall was any good I was 14-years-old, there was an Orange Julius, and I didn’t know any better. Fuck the mall.

Raisins

Ah, my perennial gripe! Raisins can go to hell. I do not want them in a cake, or a cookie. I do not want them in cereal or salad. I do not want them anywhere near me. Take your raisins far away. Give them to people you hate. 

Politician Fanboys/girls

If you know me, you know I hate celebrity culture and distrust powerful people. So when you take politicians and treat them like celebrities, it revolts me on a visceral level. Politicians don’t need your defense. They don’t need your adoration. They do need your votes, but if you don’t even have the ability to vote for them what the actual fuck are you doing hyping them up like they’re anything more than a human being with a particularly strong ego working every day in a dreadfully corrupt system? Also. This is very much why fucking celebrities think they can just switch careers and become politicians once they are played out in their industry. It’s so gross. Cut it out.

Elitism Masquerading as Meritocracy

Here’s the deal. I came up from poverty. A product of grimy, unwashed, uneducated “trash people” who came from Europe and have managed to creep our way up to the middle class with each subsequent generation. I never had the opportunity to go to college. I’ve worked multiple jobs since I was seventeen, many of which were flat-out manual labor. So when I see over-educated and “well-placed” people steeped in elitist thinking looking down their noses on those of us who are ‘uneducated’ – assigning stupidity, illiteracy, and ignorance to millions of their fellow Americans who haven’t had the same opportunities – I want to shove your arrogant fucking neck in a guillotine and let ‘er rip. The best part about this is that the same people with this attitude almost always have a superiority complex and think they are championing the impoverished and needy. Get over yourselves you self-important douchebags.

Monarchy

Forget the fact that modern monarchy is just another flavor of celebrity culture. Monarchy is, and always has been, the LITERAL belief that some people are born better and more deserving of wealth and power than others. I am *aghast* at how many people – including good, liberal, progressive folks – get starry eyed over this grotesque system that goes against everything they claim they stand for. UGH.

“Everything is Politics”

No. No it fucking IS NOT. If I see someone having a heart attack on the street, I don’t ask them to fill out a questionnaire about their political positions before trying to save them. Same with homeless people, trafficked/enslaved people, suicidal people, or really, anyone from any place who I see struggling and in need of kindness. Politics is important, yes. But some things in life and society – and I will argue the most important things – transcend politics. If you can’t see this, I can’t trust you. And you shouldn’t trust yourself. Because you’ve lost your humanity.

Advertising-Fueled Social Media 

Can this period in our cultural history just be over? Can we all agree that giving up our privacy and allowing ourselves to be commodified and manipulated is just bad for us, bad for America, and bad for humanity in general? CAN WE?

The Mental Health System (or really, lack thereof)

There are millions of people who are desperately in need of mental health services in this country. Many are a danger to themselves and others. They are often subjected to violence and exploitation, and even incarcerated because they are in crisis and have no way to manage their situation. Their families cannot control what they do. They cannot control themselves. They are not bad people. They are in need of specialized medical and psychological attention. Which takes resources. At what point do we collectively decide to do something about this? It’s not going away. 

Melon Tusk

This man is a jackass supreme, and an egomaniacal jerk-wad. I would like him to go away now, please. 

Crypto Bros, and especially the king of Crypto Bros, SBF

Ok, all this crypto shit was kind of cute in the beginning, but now it’s a malignant tumor on our economy. And SBF is a fucking criminal. Why American media is treating this guy like some poor misguided teen instead of the goddamned sociopath that he is makes me question the integrity of every media outlet that has failed to call him on the carpet. 

“Everything is Terrible”

I know it’s kind of ironic to add this to my list of grievances, but to be fair, my grievances are a once-a-year thing. Not a constant stream of fatalistic self-pity from people living in the richest country in the world. Everything? IS NOT TERRIBLE. There are people all over this planet with a fraction of your income and in far more economically and politically unstable places who find joy and meaning in their lives. These people have the courage to live and die without turning everything into a grand tragedy and acting like they are being subjected to unfathomable misery no one should be expected to bear. Get a goddamned grip, already.

Homophobes, Transphobes, and People Who Fear Drag Queens

It is the year 2022 AD. Can you PLEASE get the actual fuck over yourselves and accept that the Ozzie and Harriet family life NEVER ACTUALLY EXISTED and and there are millions of amazing, beautiful, loving and creative people that don’t fit into your stupid heterosexual fantasy world? THANKS.

Poor and Non-Existent Public Transportation 

This pisses me off because it just doesn’t make sense. It’s illogical to have billions of people each using a separate mode of transportation that they have to pay to maintain and fuel, all while adding pollution to the planet and creating needly daily traffic drama. Why do I *need* to have a car to function in this society? Why do any of us? It’s stupid. Now, look. I don’t have anything against cars as a rule – but not everyone wants or needs them. Hell, even if you have one, maybe you don’t want to have to drive it everywhere all the time and deal with traffic and parking? Cars are expensive. They’re a pain to keep up. Is there any good reason why I shouldn’t be able to traverse my city on a daily basis without having to take on that extra burden? If you’re a politician, just… unclamp your lips from the oil companies’ collective dick for five minutes and think about it.

Litter

Oh. My. GOD. Pick up your motherfucking garbage and put it in a motherfucking trash receptacle. And if there isn’t one, take it with you and put it in one later. How – HOW – are we still having this conversation?

American Politics as a Team Sport

The moment I see someone with #VoteBlueNoMatterWho or #RedWave or any other such political team nonsense in their social media profile I mute or block them. Political affiliation is not like being a football fan. Democracy is not a zero sum game. It’s not a personality, or a tribal affiliation. And it’s certainly not a reason for me to give you any of my increasingly diminishing stores of attention. Fact is, I know just as many goddamned idiots who vote for Democrats as I do Republicans. What you have on your voter registration has very little to do with whether or not what you say and do has value for me.

Unaffordable College Tuition 

That we saddle young people who haven’t even started their lives with what amounts to indentured servitude in the form of incomprehensibly high student loans, and/or use a system of higher education to keep ‘undesirables’ out of the circles of influence where the children of privilege build the foundations of their lives and careers is nothing short of immoral. We should be ashamed.

Stuff and More Stuff

I realized this year that I am sick of all the stuff. Trying to keep more junk from entering my house feels like holding back the tide. And it’s not even just the junk itself – it’s the packaging all that junk comes in. Listen, I love beautiful things and I enjoy procuring them for myself and others. But I’m ready for a ‘less is more’ lifestyle, already. Thing is, even when I resolve not to buy shit it still starts to accumulate. It finds its way into my house, piles up in my garage. It’s suffocating. Have you been to the Goodwill lately? It’s a testament to our collective addiction to consumerism. Thinking about all the crap that ends up in landfills and on beaches makes me itchy. It hasn’t always been this way. We need to get a handle on it.

Illegal Marijuana 

Why in the *actual* fuck is pot still illegal anywhere? If you’re one of those fools who thinks decriminalizing marijuana is somehow going to destroy society, please come see me. We’ll smoke a fatty and I’ll talk some sense into your weird, puritanical ass. 

Sanctimoniously Hating on Just One Corporate Social Media Platform

They’re all the same. Facebook is not worse than Twitter. Twitter is not worse that TikTok. Arbitrarily hating on a social media platform because you’re convinced it’s uniquely evil tells me that you know nothing about social media or the many companies profiting from it.

Leaving the Bathroom Light On

My husband and my son love to walk into my room when I’m watching television, turn on the bathroom light adjacent to my room, and then leave without turning it back off again. AND THEN, they get huffy when I have the audacity to tell them ONCE AGAIN to come back and turn it off. Dudes. Cut it OUT.

Process Over People

I’m going to tell you a secret. Systemic abuse and injustice isn’t going to be solved by another system. The problems that plague humanity are inside all of us. Giving money to a homeless shelter, or raising taxes to address any other social problem isn’t going to actually fix anything. It will make us feel better without us having to actually change what’s wrong within ourselves, individually and collectively. This is not to say we shouldn’t do our best to contribute to effective systems – but how many systems are really effective? How many of these programs, organizations, products and services are eliminating the social ills they claim to address? Let’s be honest with ourselves for once, shall we? 

See you next year, friends.


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