In today’s edition of excessive-but-necessary domesticity, we made a batch of homemade peanut-butter.
But on to less sweet, feel-good things to talk about:
I’ve avoided ranting about the shit-show that this lockdown has been for millions in our country all of last week. Because 1) there is so much of it online anyway and I have been trying to curb how much I consume of it, while also not ignoring the truth 2) what else is there to say that isn’t already being said by so many angry people like me?
I’m currently conflicted about this. In trying to find a mid point between staying hopeful that this will pass, while honouring the fear and shame and guilt that rises to the surface when I see news of farmers committing suicide, wholesalers dumping thousands of kilos of produce and migrant labour walking unimaginable distances to get home (and sometimes dying before they do), and being grateful for what I have; and staying firmly grounded in acknolwedging the truth about our government being absolutely filthy, greedy and inhuman. I’ve been wondering how to do both. Because neither pole negates the other.
To have a ray of hope doesn’t mean I am blind to the atrocities being unleashed upon our poor by the hour, and yet being angry about the injustice and inhumanity of it all doesn’t mean I’m being pessimistic. I’ve had trouble accepting the advice I get to find reasons to hope, to choose the positive stories over the shitty ones. Because I feel, now more than ever, when the truth is finally out, in plain sight for all to see, to look away in search of comforting positivity is a disgrace and a grave injustice. Now is not the time for being neutral either. Let’s please try and look at the atrocity we have brought upon our people by bringing this group of demons to power. Let’s sit with the discomfort it causes us. Let’s feel the rage and anger and guilt and shame bubble up. Let’s take responsibility. Let’s feel it all fully, because we, the privileged lot can afford to. Nothing in our lives will change when this peaks, and when it blows over. So let’s stick our necks out and feel whatever we’re feeling right now. Let’s not turn to faux positivity to avoid the discomfort of this shitshow. Let’s do it so we can be driven to act differently when the time to choose leaders comes around again. Let’s feel this fully so we never forget.
I’m all for positivity and hope. And I feel it in glimmers now and then. When I see updates from Kerala. Sometimes from Maharashtra these days (who knew!). I feel it when I hear what an aunt of mine has done for a camp of construction labour in her neighbourhood who were left stranded. I feel it when I read some impeccable writing online. I feel it, and I am happy to hold it. But I am watchful about floating off into a bubble that removes me from the reality that this is far form over. That this government will. just. not. stop. before they make this somehow worse every passing day.
I mean, right now they’ve managed to paint a global pandemic in communal hues. It really doesn’t get lower than that. And no, don’t point fingers at Trump and America. Because at least he takes a daily presser, he stupidly bumbles and faces the hard questions he is asked for which he has no answers. Unlike our own who only believes in televised monologues at prime time for max eyeballs and great janata value.
The whole thing just makes me so goddamned angry. As a young, tax-paying citizen, it infuriates me that on the day the PM started a highly sketchy, dubious fund to support his debacle from sinking all the way, he also signed an 880 crore defence deal with Israel, and sent 90 tonnes of medical equipment overseas, while our own doctors go to battle without the right (or any gear at all) gear.
So it’s really fucking hard to stay hopeful against all odds during this time. Try as I might, this government rains all over my hope parade by giving me ample reason to be mistrustful, hopeless and angry, literally every single day. Sometimes more than once a day. So no, I’m not just being aimlessly pessimistic.
I have also come to understand that anger and rage are crucial (and valid) reactions to be having right now. I don’t want to, I cannot, slip into a faux positivity just because the discomfort of the overwhelming truth about what we have done, all that we have enabled by our silence and by backing away into the dark, is too unpleasant. I cannot turn away anymore. I’m big into feeling anger when it comes up lately. Into feeling it fully before I “get over it” or “choose something positive” or “let go and move on”.
I don’t want to rush into doing anything about it just yet. I just want to feel it. And being stuck at home feels like the perfect invitation.
It has been a lonely and isolating sort of anger too. Because I don’t have very many places I can express this. And I’ve been looking for validation for this anger. Anyone else who gets it and feels this way. And understands this thought process. So I can feel firmly again that anger is a catalyst for renewed hope and action. And I found it in Women Who Run With The Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estés.
Rage corrodes our trust that anything good can occur. Something has happened to hope. And behind the loss of hope is usually anger; behind anger, pain; behind pain, usually torture of one sort or another, sometimes recent, but more often from long time ago.
It’s not unnatural to feel filled with rage, when you’ve lost all hope, apparently. And if you’ve been feeling helpless, hopeless and rage-y too, know that it is probably something very old, maybe even an experience of injustice from several generations ago, that is being triggered. If we allow it, and are tuned into it, every single woman will carry this in some measure.
So if you’re amongst those who are feeling it, and can hold it without wanting to immediately douse the pain in feel good things, or feel overwhelmed by it, allow for it. Make room. Feel the rage. Don’t stew in it, but find ways to express it. Find channels to let it move through you. I’ve turned to writing, painting and free-form movement post my daily workout, this past week and have seen surprising effects.
I’m not ashamed of my anger around the current state of politics of this country anymore. I’m not in a rush to feel better. I’m open to saying yes to it all for now. The rage and the hope. The hopelessness and the joy. Because I know so deeply that positivity without processing the anger will not make it go away. It will certainly not make a better tomorrow.