Letting Off Steam . . . #@¿±xø!

I'm having a hard time living in this society. I hate what it is doing to people. I see them all in yoga class. They stagger in searching for peace. Ninety minutes of relaxation. Stressed out, wired up, wobbling, weary, and tired. Twisting like pretzels to accommodate computers, commuters. Toys and houses beyond my wildest dreamsñpaying for it, tortuously, with hunched shoulders; locked jaws; carpel-tunneled arms; fibromyalgiaed muscles; shallow, asthmatic breath; and absolutely no time. Running as fast as they can, coffee in one hand, telephone in the other, running to keep their heads out frontñbut not their necks (don't stick your neck out; it'll get chopped off). Just like warñplenty more peons where they came from. Another truck load of soldiers? Another office full of workers. And why is my neck so tired? Why does my back still hurt? Why can't I relax my jaw? Who says I want to scream at the boss? He's only doing his job.

Political "truth": if everybody's spending more, consuming more, we are doing better. Better? Better for whom? Not better for the earth. Not better for beauty, communication, or community.

I hate this society of rich, middle-class people who individually are so nice. I hate the hoards of big fancy houses going up in treeless subdivisions that were countryside only a year ago. Big enough for a dozen people, home to two or three, expensive enough to keep you locked into the corporation forever, or at least until they lay you off. I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.

Everybody striving, struggling to get a slice of the pie, or at least a crumb. Hope for the Flowers, my favorite book. I want to sit and read it at the gates of Corporate America. Instead of a begging bowl, I'll lay out paints and crayons, scrap materials for sculpting, magazine pictures for collage, chalk and felt-tip pens to write out angerñin bold letters.

I hate what society does to the artist, to minorities, the homeless, the poor. It avoids them, ignores, undermines, denies them. The United States of Massive Denial. The American Dream is shattered in my soul. Pointed pieces pierce my heart. My own home, health insurance, individual retirement account. How? How? How? How can I participate in the corrupt, awful institutions that philosophically don't express me? I just can't do it on my own any more. It's too big, too vast, too alone, too expensive, too selfish. It's not even in accord with my values: Liberty, Justice, Cooperation, and Dignity for All. I want to live simply, frugally, selectively, creatively, but I want to do it with others committed to humane living. I don't care about earning lots of money. I do care about joining with others to co-create a lifestyle of meaning.

Politicians prattle on endlessly. Newscasters mouth their words. Moralists moralize on and on. TV blares. Stereo skips. CDs sizzle, VCRs repeat. Over and over. On and on. We're on a roundabout that's racing so fast nobody sees any more. Nobody has time to pay attention. Nobody has time to play. And those who do have time are shunned, considered worthlessñoutcasts adrift in seas of depression and isolation.

How can anyone be out of work, unemployed? There's so much that needs to be done. Beauty and art to be created, communication and connection to be explored, attention to each other, to healing, to learning to love. Where's the beauty, the dignity of being alive? Where's the paintbrush, the new dance, the poem, the soul?

This is just one more civilization that has risen to "greatness." Creating huge inequalities, underclasses, greed, spoliation of resources. And urging us all on in addictive urgency. It will fall, this great monster. The sky is falling. The sky is falling.

You shut yourself up in your house. Isolated with your family. Small. Alone. Where are you? I have to drive twenty minutes to see you. I hate that. I want you close. I want us close. Yet I cannot live where you live. I cannot work how you work. I have to find my own way to live life, as an art form, soulfully, with meaning, yet I am so tired of traveling alone. But no more husbands in houses for me. That feels just as limiting, just as isolated. And if he earns more money than me, how can we ever truly have equal power and mutuality? I loathe this system of small units of families consuming huge quantities of everything from paper plates to plastic bags.

Grow your own. Make your own. Use trash to make art. Be resourceful. Recreate. Recycle. Invent. Connect. Connect. Connect. Wake Up. Find your passion. Find your charms. Do it, before it's too late.

And find me, fellow brothers and sisters. Find me and help me find warmth in your arms; space in your home; creative freedom in your midst; privacy for my practice; communion in a dance, a song, a poem. And help me learn how to liveñto live with the land, to grow her, to know her, and to make for myself a homeñwith youñwhere we can truly liveñand I can afford to stay.

Judith Valerie
Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00