When we suffer great pains like I did when my younger sister died tragically back in 2007, I was told to look for "closure." If someone hurts you, emotionally or career-wise, we're told to "let things go." We're supposed to accept crap with grace and a crooked Charlie Brown smile and "move on."
Maybe that's why it seems like half our country is addicted to or addled by this drug or that drink. (You might want to read this, if you can still feel.) We have fears and worries and hurts and woes but we're told that those feelings must be suppressed--we have to live with them, or hide them away.
As I said, some people drug themselves, or drink themselves. Others lose themselves in too much TV or too much consumerism. Anything so as not to feel. There are no Howard Beale's anymore.
No only do we not rage rage against the dying of the light, we don't even realize it's darkening.
It's not socially acceptable to scream out the window, to say fuck you, or to slam a door. God forbid you express some human-ness. It just isn't allowed anymore.
We're numbers, after all. We're folded, spindled and mutilated--just as numbers should be. And if a few get lost along the way, what's an integer between friends?
We have rent to pay or mortgages, and kids to put through school. We need our health insurance and our 401(K). So all of us toe the line, smile when we want to curse and buy into the narcotics.
They're big, you're little and you have to take it. You have to play the game. You have to grin and bear it.
Except you don't. Because you have you to be accountable to.
You can be better than they are. You can be respectful of others and kind. You can uphold your standards and your integrity. You can perpetrate acts of rebellion ten times a day, or twenty.
By treating people well.
By saying please and thank you.
By doing something special for people.
By doing something special for yourself.
By caring and helping and listening and heeding.
By doing more for others than you have to. Your family. Your friends. Your co-workers.
By being k i n d.
It won't change the world or anything in it. But it will change something more important. It will change you. Keep you. Preserve you.
As Joachim Fest said so many decades ago as fascism was rising around him in Germany and eating the souls of his friends, family and neighbors, Etiam si omnes, ego non.
Etiam si omnes, ego non.
It's not a Latin slogan for waffles.
It's even bigger than that:
"Even if all others, not I."
Words to live by.