Mondays: Cynicism is a foreign antibody.
Molecular Fatigue. I’ve been excessively tired for months – like, in bed by 8:30, tired. (Although, it’s currently10pm.. I’m writing from bed, so I’m only half-contradicting myself.)
Last August I thought drilling through my sinuses would help. Maybe I wasn’t getting enough air. A drastic measure just for more zip. Nose splints and gore for weeks. Still tired.
I thought quitting alcohol would help. I didn’t have a drop for 6 full weeks – Late November to early January. I gained 10 pounds and felt irritable and/or sad nearly all of the time. Enjoyed my mornings, and I’m sure my liver was pleased, but still…. tired.
I’ve wondered about mood, if my neurochemistry is running a little low and muddy. I’m good at observing my feelings – like skinless blobs floating in jars -- but less good at feeling them. I kind of prefer it this way, if I’m being honest.
I’ve been reading too much news. I click into CNN reflexively all day long. It’s too much. A few days ago I spent some time on National Geographic wondering if I could make it a new reading habit. Replace CNN. Learn about star clusters and ancient tool making instead of the 3 mass shootings that happened yesterday and the latest brutalities of war.
Then I wondered if that would be rose-colored-glass-wearing. Mindlessness. Irreponsible citizenry. But I can’t be clear and mindful and responsible if I’m half or all the way dead.
Lately, I’ve been worrying about the private school vouchers (Education Savings Accounts) here in Iowa -- today’s vote, the shady deals that pushed it to the House and Senate floor this evening. Is it okay with you if I don’t drill on about how overtly shitty it is? Because it is. Overtly shitty. And fueled entirely by power grabs and political ambition.
It passed, by the way. At least, at this exact moment, the House has passed it, and the Senate is expected to. I worry about my schools. We are already worn thin.
This afternoon, there was a shooting at an at-risk youth program that partners with our district. Two teenagers died, and the founder of the program was critically wounded. Gang related. This program serves young people struggling to engage with school. The irony that our legislators were preparing their debates about an overtly discriminatory education bill that would further alienate marginalized youth at the exact same time… is too much.
Tonight, while observing the skinless blobs of my floating feelings, I tagged:
Cynicism is a new one for me, and I don’t think it suits… and I wonder if that’s why I’m tired. It’s a foreign antibody in my small intestine. Cynicism disagrees with my core belief that 99.9% of us are innately good, that we just forget sometimes. We’re good, but we’re dummies. That’s why we forget. So we have to help each other remember.
(Unfortunately, sometimes, we get elected into powerful positions and we make impactful decisions when we’re in the middle of our dumb-forgetting phase.)
Or maybe that’s my almost-cynicism talking.
Anyway, I don’t want to be a cynic, because cynicism is an excuse to stop showing up. Cynicism is powerlessness. And that doesn’t feel right. And it certainly doesn't change anything. It doesn't make anything.
It made me think of something Rob Bell wrote in How to Be Here. Bell urges us to recognize that the world is never finished, and that we are actively co-creating at all times – like a writer staring at the “blinking line” of a cursor on a blank page.
“Boredom, cynicism, and despair are spiritual diseases because they disconnect us from the most primal truth about ourselves – that we are here.
All three distance us from and deaden us to the questions the blinking line asks:
How are you going to respond to this life you have been given?
What are you going to do with it?
What are you going to make here?”
It’s funny that writing about how tired I am is the thing that kept me up past my bedtime.