i am conflicted about THE WORLD

THE WORLD gives me writer’s block.  THE WORLD makes me paralyzed.  the world is BIG and full of BAD THINGS and i live in it kind of.  and i have nothing to say about it.

there’s so much going on in THE WORLD.  six weeks ago it was the protests in egypt, then coming out of that, the continued unrest in libya, where a government is attacking its own people.  i started and deleted about six posts about these things.  for the last week, it’s been earthquakes, tsunamis, and now nuclear who-knows-what in japan.  i keep trying to have Something To Say about these events, these major WORLD HAPPENINGS AND CATASTROPHES, but i know next to nothing about middle eastern politics or nuclear power or rescue efforts or military strategy.

to write a blog post here in my dusty little corner of the internet giving my two cents about these things seems silly; what do i have to contribute?  even the headlines that do penetrate into my small bubble of existing seem to bounce right off.  gay marriage (or not)?  health care?  collective bargaining rights?  ohio cutting its higher education budget?  these things affect me directly, and i still can’t muster up meaningful words (um, thoughts) about them.

all this stuff is flying around my head, and i’m writing about:
– the ophelia myth in 20th century literature
– the unreasonable speed with which grey fluff builds up on white tile in my bathroom
– the fact that being in the basement when mal is playing upstairs  sounds like being underneath a convention of a major international bowling society
– the warmish weather and halleluja we’ve been able to open the windows a crack
– the cat goes bananas over said open windows

it all makes me a little jealous of my parents’ generation, or even my grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ generation.  where you inhabited your little bubble of being, and THE WORLD was kept at bay by sheer dint of distance, and newspaper headlines and rss feeds and twitter and facebook updates didn’t inundate you with IT IS SO MUCH WORSE EVERYWHERE ELSE and YOUR PROBLEMS AND SMALL TRIUMPHS ARE TRULY INSIGNIFICANT and make you doubt every bowl of cereal that you ate and every nap that you took and every page of literary analysis that you wrote.

THE WORLD MAKES ME CONFLICTED.  there is so much going on out there, and i’m struggling and struggling to make my little bubble of existence meaningful, and the failure of those two things to mesh is just making me miserable.  and if i spend the day glued to the NYT headlines, i feel like an insignificant bug, and if i go hide from my insignificantness in front of the TV or in a yoga class or in my kitchenaid mixer, i feel like an insignificant bug.  i feel like a nauseous, sad, insignificant bug.  this is not a post of self-pity, and i am not asking for comments saying OH BUT YOU ARE SIGNIFICANT WE LOVE YOU AND THERE ARE RAINBOWS YAY.  in fact, please do not say those things in comments.

i read books and talk about them, and i am good at that.  i teach language, and i am good at that.  i am trying to take those things, which i am good at and also which i like, and make them mesh into the world outside of my bubble.  so far, i have not been successful at this: the job i applied for in boston didn’t pan out, because they had so many qualified candidates (not me).  i guess i don’t know how to become qualified at something that makes a difference, because everybody else gets in the door first because they are already more qualified.

…i’m going to go make bread now, and pay my taxes.

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4 Comments

Filed under Essay, Journal

4 responses to “i am conflicted about THE WORLD

  1. Toby

    I try to content myself with doing small, manageable things, like going to this website every day and taking the bus and eating vegetarian most of the time and donating the occasional blood or money. Then I hope that I can inspire others to do similar things, or at least become more aware of the consequences of their actions and realize the importance of a good mindset in making the world a better place. It is like the more general case of fighting voter apathy, and I can’t not do it because something in me withers a little whenever I think about the epidemic self-fulfilling prophecy of “what I do doesn’t matter, so why bother?”

    I’d recommend, like you said, finding a way to apply what you’re good at (and enjoy, preferably), but also consider doing things on a local level. I think significant, lasting change is a lot more likely to come from the bottom up.

  2. Alison

    I don’t know what to do about the world either, and how to reconcile who I am in the world. It stresses me out. Bah.

  3. Hannah

    Correction: “Significant bug.”

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