Apathy and Inertia
So, I’m stuck.
I’m stuck with my writing.
I want to write, but for some reason I keep finding every reason in the world not to do it. I find pulling my thoughts together tedious. I just want to ramble and move on. It’s such a weird spot, because generally I love writing.
I know what some of it is. I’m scared. My need to do threat assessment has escalated. I feel uncomfortable leaving the house sometimes. I just got back from a trip in Vegas where I was actively scanning the white people around me, looking for the potential threats. While strolling on one of the overhead crosswalks, we passed a hotel employee cleaning off the words “white power” that someone had written on a concrete beam. While riding the monorail, I watched people choose to stand rather than sit in the empty seat next to me. I felt myself using my S.O. as a buffer with white people. And while it didn’t wreck my vacation, it definitely affected it. I’m affected by every piece of fuckery coming out.
Then I came home and binged on Rick and Morty. If you don't know, it’s a cartoon about a super genius, Rick, and his average grandson, Morty. Rick has figured out interdimensional travel and jumps throughout the universe and across dimensions at will. He takes Morty along for reasons we aren’t quite sure of. Part of it is that Morty’s lack of intelligence masks Rick’s genius, making him less detectable to those looking for him – not the least of which are versions of him from another dimension. Infinite dimensions, infinite versions of themselves, infinite possibilities. And while that show sounds like it should be a madcap adventure of the highest order, it has problems. It’s ableist, sexist, racist where even across the infinite realities and universes, it’s mostly white… And yes, the main character is Rick Sanchez but white Hispanic identity is a thing.
But the thing that spoke to me most with this show was Rick’s depression.
Rick is morbidly depressed, lonely, and isolated. He’s filled with so much self-hate that versions of him from other dimensions want to kill him, which is some rough shit. He manages it well, considering. The thing about the show that put me on pause was Rick’s continued interest and drive to live despite his irritation with the lack of awareness of those around him and his seemingly unaffectedness with the horrors of everything around him. He knows shit is fucked up. He knows he can’t fix it. But he still leads a life where he chooses his battles, and one of those battles is the will to live.
Rick is trying to keep himself just numb enough to want to live.
And I get it. When you look at the world and all its horrors, it’s hard to want to be in it. I often don’t. Sometimes I just want to close everything out and ignore it all but I can’t. And while self-care dictates that I need to do it sometimes, I won’t. Instead, I keep looking and learning and reading and reacting and thinking and hoping and trying and failing over and over again until I can’t do anything but cry. Or sleep. But mostly cry. Because despite the talk of death, I’m a fighter and a survivor. When I get overwhelmed and immobile, it’s a minor setback - not the endgame.
And every day I find a way to pick myself up and keep going because if I stop, the only person it really affects is me and I don’t want to stop.
I see a lot of myself in Rick…I mean, I’m not a super genius or anything close to that but looking at the world and actually seeing a lot of it without the haze of lies we’re taught from birth is some rough shit. It’s like the day you realize your parents are fuck-ups just like you…that they are making it up as they go along. When you learn your heroes don’t know shit, and that often they are just more experienced or more nuanced thinkers than you. When you realize that success is a lie perpetuated to keep you tied to a system that exploits you and those around you. When you learn that morality is a social construct designed to keep things safe for those in power.
And the thing is, I’m not a cynic. I’m just not naïve about the way things are. That’s what makes Morty so interesting. It’s probably fucking twisted that I love watching Morty run through these other dimensions enforcing his version of right and wrong only to make shit worse because he never bothered to learn the values of the societies he entered. Instead, he makes decisions based in the arbitrary morality of his society and creates new problems wherever he goes. The one exception is season 1, episode 5 – Meseeks and Destroy, where Morty experienced the fuckshit factor at its best. For those who don’t know, the fuckshit factor is when no matter your intent, choices, or connections, some random shit can always happen to fuck it up.
Fuckshit begins at birth. Nobody born asked for that shit. After that, it’s just a shitstorm of trying to survive. Because if it’s one thing humans will beg, borrow, steal, or kill for, it’s to survive. And we’ve learned that we survive better in groups. Not huge groups, as we keep having to re-learn, but groups. Survival is that selfish co-operative game that nobody asked to play and yet, here we are. You have to learn individual survival skills, group survival skills, community survival skills, and societal survival skills. America has reached a point where there are large groups of people in our society whose morality and social ideologies do not align so we will fight until one decimates the other. No one wants to accept that, except the white supremacists. They’ve always preached that shit. But many other people don’t want to accept it. So they bury themselves in the day to day minutia and numb themselves to everything else. Unless you can’t turn it off. And then you have to figure out how to navigate this lie of a life because as fake as it feels, you don’t want to die.
I don’t want to die. And neither does Rick, who is a cartoon representation of someone who has experienced the lies of infinite dimensions with infinite societies and infinite ethical liars…and he can’t pretend he doesn’t see it, so he just accepts it for what it is, take what he needs/wants, and stays drunk.
I prefer edibles, myself. But I can’t get them in Georgia cuz I’m a scared square. Which is why I should drink like Rick does. Liquor is everywhere in Georgia. It’s in the gas station. It’s in the Walgreens. We got drive through liquor stores. I can get lit on the way to and from work then run across the street and get a drink from the pub at lunch. Or I can get a flask, just like Rick.
Did I mention that Rick spoke to me? Cuz he did. He spoke to the part of me that was hurting but I didn’t quite hear. I’ve watched several episodes twice and even cried during one. I spent a couple of days having to just be with my emotions because I’d hit my limit. And this was realized watching a cartoon about an alcoholic, apathetic genius, but considering all the things happening around me that are out of my control…it makes sense. Rick is all about that fuckshit factor and we are living in my lifetime’s extreme version of it. White supremacists are killing people in the streets. Men are randomly murdering people and blaming their ex-girlfriends. That orange in the oval office is unqualified and uninterested in his new responsibilities except for the war mongering and profit. White people are angry that people are pushing back on oppression and they are willing to sink the entire country for that right.
This is some serious fuckshit, people.
So now I just accept there are days I’m gonna cry. Because seeing too much, knowing too much, and feeling too much is all too much. And when it gets to be too much, it helps to see a representation of someone coping with the same thing.