So many thoughts swirl in my head. But as for writing them down? I got nothing.
Nothing coherent, that is. For once in my life, fiction feels easier than nonfiction.
In fiction, I can tell the story that I want to have happen. I can speak of magic, and love, and danger, and of groups of people who band together to defeat their foes.
Even if it’s only temporary, there is victory.
I don’t know what victory looks like in real time. In the here and now.
Not when 92 people died on the streets of my adopted city last year (and those are only the reported deaths). Not when yet another person in a mental health crisis was just killed by our local police. Thirteen seconds was all it took, from their arrival to him—slender body wrapped up in a blanket against the winter cold—falling to the street.
I don’t know what victory looks like when children die in cages. When families are separated. When unscrupulous people decide who should be placed for adoption rather than live with their parents.
I don’t know what victory looks like when people starve on the streets of a wealthy nation.
When they are killed because they are trans.
When hundreds of thousands are locked up for no other reason than they are Black, brown, Indigenous, immigrant, or poor.
I don’t know what victory looks like when war seems endless.
I don’t know what victory looks like when billionaires hoard more wealth than the world has ever seen as their workers drop dead, unnoticed, on warehouse floors.
That is to say: I know what I want victory to look like, but I don’t see a way from here to there.
By all the Gods and Goddesses, so many have worked toward justice all our lives. And yet, this is the current state of our society. As a whole, we have chosen, repeatedly, to reward the greedy and punish the oppressed.
We have chosen glitter over bread.
Deep inside myself, I still believe we can choose differently—and I honor those of you who do. But it’s not enough of us. We still prop up these dying, murderous, multinational corporations, these corrupt politicians, and these nation states.
We live within systems that eat us alive, even as we consume.
What do we do? How do we shift?
I’m not certain, to be honest. Perhaps it’s bailing a sinking life boat with a thimble, but on a base level, we do what we always have done:
We care for one another.
We feed each other.
We uplift and celebrate each other.
We relieve what suffering we can.
We organize and we continue to band together to fight those who walk upon the backs of the suffering.
And we repeatedly learn to speak up and say, “No more.”
As I said: I got nothing. Except for what I’ve always had.
I have a fire in my belly, and in my heart and head. That fire keeps me warm, and keeps me going.
But the most important thing I have?
I have the knowledge that you—wherever you are—have a fire inside you, too. You’re out there, right now, living your best life and doing what you can.
Let’s get through this. Together.
Let’s keep each other alight and alive.
One decade at a time. One year at a time. One day at a time.
One long breath at a time.
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