I trained to be a journalist. They taught me to construct ledes and communication theory and I sponged all of it up without meaning to. It was never a question – I was a writer, I need to be a writer. I needed to join a newspaper and write about press conferences and world hunger and everything in between.
But when it came to applying for jobs, I chickened out. As always, the doubt demon plagued me – am I good enough? While I was battling it out, I got a job offer from an e-commerce (now) giant and after that I just let myself be swept along with the corporate flow, reveling in the money and cringing every day at the lack of meaning.
I give you background to help you understand how important it was (and it is) for me, as a voluntary student of journalism, to read the news and keep abreast of what is going on around me.
But I don’t. I haven’t seen a newspaper in god knows how long, I don’t subscribe to any online mailers, and the only time I actively read up about current events is when I find myself forming opinions without know the full story.
Because day-to-day existence becomes difficult when you feel as much as I feel.
I feel the vein in my temple getting ready to pop when I read about lawyers saying that they will set their daughters on fire if they “dishonor” the family and immigrants being refused asylum after they have left everything they have ever known in life to escape a war over nothing.
I feel hurt when people around me judge based on religion and ruin relationships based on petty jealousy.
I feel like I don’t deserve what I have when there is so.much.suffering around me.
I feel betrayed when no one seems to be honest, not the friend, not the colleague, not the boss, not the country, not the world. NO ONE is honest about anything, even those things that you do not have be dishonest about.
I feel so helpless that I can talk and try to educate and take a stand and still make no difference to the lives of any.
I feel so useless that, despite standing on my porch and yelling, I’m too short and too powerless to prevent people from bursting crackers three days after Diwali and traumatizing the strays further.
I feel too far away to hug that Muslim woman, a third-generation US citizen, who was terrorized by rednecks after Trump won the elections, too far away to say sorry your hijab was pulled off, sorry you feared for your life.
I feel so guilty that I live off cards when old people are being trodden over in never-ending lines in front of banks.
I feel so stupid after telling people to switch off lights and fans and not use deodorants (simple changes to reduce global warming), because they just look at me pityingly and shrug off such suggestions.
I feel so enraged when women call each other sluts for getting “more attention” from male colleagues.
I feel so vulnerable that the country I live in and used to love is so corrupt and the taxes that I pay are disappearing into thin air, while some people only seem to be getting richer and richer.
I feel so damn disheartened that 90% of the population does not care enough to do anything for anyone other than themselves.
And it is never-ending, mind you. Crisis after crises. Lie after lie. Disaster after disaster. Rape after rape. But life still goes on after everyone is done expressing their opinions on it on social media.
I will shut out the world, stop reading the paper/following the news. I will not be ashamed to admit that I don't know who my leaders are. I will continue hiding behind Biden memes and abstract poetry about NOTHING that truly matters.... to simply be able to put one foot in front of the other and continue living.
Having the emotional range of a teaspoon would definitely have been a better deal for people like me, I think. Fifty points to Gryffindor, if you know what teaspoon I'm talking about.