A Most Insidious Lie

That comfort in returning to depression
That at least if I’m panicking, I’m worrying about something
That pulling away from people
Gives them what they want:
Less of me.

That this internalized hatred,
This self-loathing and wish to be anyone else
Is my true self, my default outlook.

That this is somehow normal.

That conventional beauty is a trade-off:
Get some bad attention with all the good attention.
That the intersecting identity statuses of an actor
Cast in a classic show
Is a calculated attempt to push an agenda.
Unless they’re a man.

That the silence of prey will protect the predators,
That the prey finding each other, boosting each other,
Finding strength in solidarity
Is a conspiracy to push an agenda.

That a person’s identity is up for debate.
That their lived experience is a subjective experience
And they might tell their story
Motivated only by pushing their agenda.
Unless they’re white.

That this is now normal.

That the person granted more power than any person in the world
In all of history
Was chosen by God, and divine right is still with us.
That one country’s leader is somehow
The Most Powerful Person in the World.
That such a person should also be a bully,
Should be constantly on the defensive,
Should exercise free speech with a direct channel of communication
And silence others exercising their own free speech
And should try to destroy the news media.
That such a person should lie without hesitation, reservation,
Even when such lies are obvious,
Even when previous lies have been exposed.

That we can do nothing about narcissism,
Racism, ethnocentrism, hate
With power behind it.
That our late night hosts,
Our comedians, our satirists,
Have become de facto activists,
And feel compelled to remind us all,
Nightly, that compassion is still alive,
That we must strive to treat each other
As fellow humans, sharing in struggle.

That this is our normal.

That our struggle, that poverty,
That illness of body or mind,
Is a character failing.
That making do,
That changing our priorities,
That changing the way we structure our lives,
Are just the disastrous results of our entitled generation.

That our struggle, our discomfort,
Our pain, our heartache, our dissatisfaction,
Our breakdowns, our uncertainty, our loneliness,
Our hope, our resistance, our passion,
Our innovation, our acceptance, our compassion
Mean we are failing to deliver…something.
That we are measured by what we produce,
What we give up, what we make, what we take.

That we are getting used to this.
That when the panic returns,
When our strength to do anything at all fades,
It feels like where we belong.
That we aren’t even compelled to ask, “Why?”

That this is normal
Is a most insidious lie.


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