Filed Under: Essays
I want you to know it when you wake in the night and can’t sleep,
when you wander the halls like a fevered stranger
looking for the place you called home.
This is not normal. It is not normal to watch the world we know and love slip away bit by bit. You are not crazy. It is not wrong of you to feel lost and scared. It is not wrong of you to ache for more.
It is not wrong of you to pray to the Gods of your childhood, or seek solace in the stars, or lay your warm body next to another’s night after night in search of happiness.
You are not wrong. You are not broken, or ruined, or bad. You are not the problem.
This brittle and abused culture of sadness that pits victim against victim in an endless, bloody dog fight. This monstrous civilization with it’s endless appetite. This hell bent path of destruction and ruin.
This is wrong. This is broken. This is ugly, and tragic, and sick.
This stifled life.
You are beautiful. You were born expecting more.
If you think hard you can remember a time when everything was magic, when you could still see the shimmer, however fleeting. You can have that again.
You deserve more. You are smart. You are brave. You are kind. You have an endless capacity for loving.
This civilization wants to break you down. It wants to bind your arms and muffle your screams. It wants to make you hurt. It wants you to be afraid. It wants you to be afraid of others. It wants you to be afraid of everything.
But if our hearts grow hardened it wins.
We must stay soft. Even in the face of growing calamity we must remain open.
Some days your heart will hurt so much, you’ll beg for a pill to ease the pain. You’ll drink, you’ll consume. You’ll distract. You’ll howl into the clear, blue sky. And still it will hurt.
And then you’ll break. Into a million pieces. You will cry an endless flood of tears. You will lay on the cool floor panting and breathless.You will cry out to the dark universe and ask for a miracle. You will beg for this to stop.
But YOU are the miracle. Because even as you reach your lowest point you are healing. Even as you melt into a puddle of grief and sorrow and mourning, you are living. You are ALIVE.
YOU are the greatest gift. YOU have the power to walk away. To sever the ties that break your heart. To end the cycle of damage, of violence. You have the gift of life.
This thing is dead. It is a zombie world that thirsts for blood. Our only hope is to out-run it. Our only hope is to out-fight it.
Our only hope is to let our hearts out-love it.
Let your love run wild. Love the plants, and the trees, and the animals. Love the people, the rocks, the ocean and sky. Love yourself.
Let your heart break. Let the pain rush in strong. Cry for help. Be a child in the world. Find others like yourself and hold on for dear life. Do not let the mind numbing tedium and petty disagreements tear you apart.
Make a small life. A simple life. Learn to live with less. Learn to live with nothing.
Create. Make things. Cook, knit, hunt, forage, plant, and harvest. Do good work in the world. Organize. Rebel. Refuse to conform, refuse to give in. Care for the ones who are too damaged or broken to go on.
Cut ties with those who wish to hurt you. You will find spirits so darkened by trauma that all the light is gone. It is not your job to fix them. It is not your job to heal everyone’s pain.
Be a ship in the night for other lost souls. Be a beacon of light so kindred ones can find you.
Be extremely gentle with yourself. As though you were a newborn baby. As though you are the smallest bird with a broken wing.
You are one of many. You are a diamond in a sea of broken glass.
Please forgive me.
I love you.
Thank you for listening,
About the Author:
Natasha Alvarez is an activist, mama, wife, daughter, sister, auntie, tender of gardens and wild spaces, activist, and teacher. She believes in her heart of hearts that another world is possible, but in order to bring it to life we must work together to wake those who are sleepwalking and reclaim our lives from those who wish to see the world destroyed.
Her amazing, grief-soaked project, described below, can be found at The Year of Black Clothing.
“The water is poisoned, the air is toxic, the soil is contaminated. Many people are suffering. The land and animals are suffering. Corporations run our government and the world. They are not alive. They do not protect the interests of things that are alive.
That’s the truth, and I’m tired of acting like everything is fine. But what can I do? I’m stuck in panic mode, wheels spinning.
So I asked myself the question, “How do people move forward after terrible traumas and tragedies? How do people deal with sorrow and sadness so they can live to fight another day? How do people move from the victim stage to the survivor stage?”
I did some research.
And I think I found the answer.
So I’m going to wear black for a year. It’s the traditional color worn during mourning in many cultures. It’s also traditionally a color worn in solidarity. Solidarity for ones we’ve lost and the ones who are fighting now.
Each day, I’ll choose the one I grieve for. It could be a species of plant or animal. It could be a person. I may cry, sing, light candles, stomp around. I may sit in silence. I may do nothing and play with my sweet baby. I’m not really sure what will happen because I’ve never done this before. I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying not to think abut these things because they’re too big and scary. But whatever happens, I’ll share it here on this blog.
Each day, I’ll choose the one I stand in solidarity with. It could be a person, a tree, a culture or a species. I may honor them, write about them, speak about them, cry about them. I may paint pictures of them, hike up mountains for them, pray for them. I may write letters to them, send them food and supplies, or fight beside them. Whatever happens, I’ll write about it here.
And I invite you to join me. Mourn with me, wear black if you choose, make your own blog. Organize your community, teach your children and friends, refuse to do nothing, refuse to stay quiet.
Grow the culture of rebellion. Let’s connect to the earth, and each other. Let’s fight for what we love!”