It's Okay to Not Feel Like Everything Will Be Okay

[Content Note: Emotional policing.]

Soon after the 2016 election, I published a piece with the same title as this one, in which I wrote:
Something has been upended that cannot be easily righted, and I'm not going to feel okay about the fact that every breath in my chest just got a little tighter.

And they were already pretty tight, even before this.

I know how to live in a space of survival. And I will persevere, for as long as the fates allow. That does not require me to concede that everything will be okay.

And, at least in this space, it's okay if you don't feel like everything will be okay, too.
In the intervening 15 months, things have gotten precipitously worse. As I entirely expected they would. Things tend to go to shit when a disloyal, intemperate, bigoted, authoritarian megalomaniac is given unfettered power and access to a vast nuclear arsenal.

I have spent an enormous amount of my time every weekday creating a detailed compendium of many of this administration's abuses. Each day, I promote the We Resist thread on Twitter, and frequently it is met with exasperation and scorn. I am accused of being "negative" and "depressing" for compiling this relentless onslaught of bad news, and I am scolded for not instead telling people what actions to take to resist, and I am obliged to see "Debbie Downer" memes and GIFs in my mentions.

Simultaneously, when I write pieces about how well and truly dire the situation has become, because we can't resist what we won't even speak about honestly, I am told that I am a defeatist, that I am hurting the resistance, that I need to STFU and FOAD, that I am a hysterical alarmist to whom no one serious should ever listen.

None of this invective gets directed at me because I am wrong. The people yelling at me aren't challenging my facts. The reason they want me to shut up shut up shut up is because I am interfering with their insistent belief that everything will be okay.

It might not be. It looks very much like it won't. It already isn't, for immigrant families being torn asunder and for victims of hate crimes committed by hatemongers empowered by this presidency and for people who defend on social service organizations whose funding is drying up, just for a start.

It's not okay. And it's okay to not feel like it's going to get better, simply or quickly or maybe ever in the remainder of your lifetime.

A thing like restoring trust in public institutions is a monumental task. It's far, far easier to erode trust than it is to rebuild it. I am 43 years old, and I don't believe it will be accomplished before my time on this rock comes to an end.

How can I possibly believe everything is going to be okay?

The fact is I don't.

And I'm not saying that, publicly and straightforwardly, as a resignation. To the absolute contrary, I don't believe that things can be okay if we aren't all fighting as hard as our grim circumstances demand; as hard as though we all know that things won't be okay without a leviathanian effort from each and every one of us.

We have to acknowledge the precipice on which we find ourselves, if we're ever to back away.

I don't feel like it's going to be okay.

That motivates me to fight with perseverance and resilience. And yet there are vanishingly few places where I can express that without reflexive and hostile pushback.

Because there are too many people who want to live in some fucking fantasy world where our institutions aren't corrupt, where checks and balances still exist, where the rules still matter, where other people will fix it.

They are too indolent to do anything except admonish me for being a downer and not indulging their delusion that a democracy can be sustained if We the People abandon our duty to fight for it.

No one else is coming.

And the people who shush me when I say that everything isn't going to be okay are one of the reasons it won't be.

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