The Sword Pointed At the Heart

I once heard some pop-pysch pablum state that depression is merely anger turned inward.

But ignore the source, and consider the consequences of passivity in the face of oppression.  Ridiculous work conditions, societies formed to maintain poverty, increasingly territory of the self claimed as a field of commerce.  Ask for a raise, get denied, sing a Smith’s song in your head (“you just haven’t earned it yet, baby/you must suffer and apply for another time.”)  Or rail a bit about your boss to friends or family, or slack off, steal some office supplies, but in the end, accept.

Watch the cost of food rise slowly at the grocery store.  Eat a little less, purchase lower quality food, cut into your savings, decline to go out on that date because you don’t want to admit you’re a bit too poor.

Walk past 20 people who ask you for change, or a cigarette.  Decline each, or every person after the first.  Shake your head, entertain notions that they’re not really poor, or get a little angry that they’re asking you and not someone else, or push your headphones in closer.

Hear news that the tipping point on global warming has been reached, another species is endangered, there’s some war somewhere or other.  Go home and drink, or smoke weed and try to forget.  Or watch a movie and try to forget.

Vote, though you know it doesn’t do a thing.  Exercise, because at least you’ve got your body. Do yoga, or meditate, or pray as the people die from economic sanctions, or proxy wars, or remote-controlled planes, or manufactured famines.

Know something’s wrong, but know you can’t live angry, because anger makes you want to do things, and there’s safety in inaction.

Read the histories, if you dare.  The slaves which built this land up from the rivers of blood of systematic slaughter.  Know that the same thing happened elsewhere, maybe to your own people.  Shrug, or worse–let your ancestral suffering justify that of others.

See the angry throngs in other lands, but dismiss them because they are not white, or they don’t have computers and grocery stores.  But know this isn’t enough for you–swallow the fear and sympathy, try to digest that feeling and wonder why you feel ill, why the sun seems sallow.

Inherit memories from yourself.  Remember the rejection each time you tried, or the conflict each time you spoke.  Inherit that pain and blame yourself.  You are not good enough.  You are too weak.  You are not enough.

Hear the voices of the gods speak, and throw their whispers back at them, pretend it’s all echo, all madness.  You can change nothing, because to change a thing is to assert a self into the world and it’s safer to have no self at all.

Confront the dead, their memories, the torment and dislocation and sorrow and try to convince yourself there’s nothing you can do any longer.  The world is not yours, you are but no one, you are nothing in the face of so much potential for rage.

Stare dumbly at the sword in your hands and consider asking yourself why you’ve had the point aimed at your heart your entire life.

4 thoughts on “The Sword Pointed At the Heart

  1. I so relate. I wish I had more space to contemplate this piece and my own experiences in more depth. Right now I can just say: yes.

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