This summer is decades long. Time no longer functions as it once did and cannot be trusted. The mosquitoes are the least of our problems. I’ve been meaning to write something, anything, but where to begin? Every day brings another disaster, another grave mistake that could’ve been easily avoided if we had strong leaders with even somewhat humanistic values and hearts in the right place. But we don’t, and this year has been a test of how shaky and precarious this country’s foundations truly are, how weak our democracy. There is a lot to be angry about. America’s leadership has politicized a pandemic, responded to police brutality against Black lives by inciting MORE violence, and continues to sow seeds of distrust in science and empirical evidence that extends and deepens our suffering. Florida has always been a complete train wreck, blitzed out and brain-dead, a window into the act of schadenfreude, but has become a nihilistic, anarchist paradise where people try their very hardest to live like they’re never going to die.
What to do? Everything seems so overwhelming, so irreparable, so far gone, that paralysis and withdrawal seem inevitable. It’s hard to say. All I can do is listen, share credible information, be skeptical of misinformation, raise voices that are better equipped with the language and experience, donate to organizations that are helping overcome deeply ingrained systemic issues, and vote. When I’m not doing these things, here are ways I’ve tried coping:
- Playing many hours of video games, especially Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Summer in Mara (both of which allow you to explore and live an idyllic life on tropical islands and help well-intentioned anthropomorphic animals), as well as Maneater (you play as a bull shark and you can eat rich people on yachts and golf courses!)
- Listening to music (examples: Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple, Petals as Armor by Hayley Williams) and funny audiobooks (like: Samantha Irby and R. Eric Thomas)
- I want to say reading and writing, but I keep getting away from these activities because they simply aren’t escapist enough – at least, not the things I tend to read or write – and require thinking deeply about the world around me
- Limiting my time on social media while still trying to stay informed
- Reminding myself of the future goals I have, grad school, writing projects, and work
There is also this: I have to remind myself constantly that the craziest voices always carry the farthest. There are some lovely and tough minds left, some love and empathy, strength and hope to make everything better. All of this is getting drowned out because everything else is so overwhelming and overtakes the airwaves/our screen time.
I often tell my husband that nothing surprises me anymore. I anticipate Florida will get much worse. The virus isn’t going anywhere. I expect we will have multiple Category 6 hurricanes (a new hurricane for a new kind of terrible) in the fall. I wouldn’t be surprised that this year would be the end of all years. Maybe the Mayans were just a few years off.