Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ignorance was Bliss

I'm half asleep at Noon on a Saturday. Not good. In all fairness, I was up quite late and up quite early and the nasty coffee from Jack in the Box is not doing my drowsiness a lick of good. Since I'm feeling useless right now, I figured I'd show up here. There have been some great articles and posts lately about politics that have really got me thinking. I'm not thinking so much about where I stand, but about how the hell I got to the ignorant state I find myself in. The much younger me, made a constant, conscious effort to educate myself and stay abreast of what was happening in the world. More importantly, I sought out people and sources of information that helped me connect the dots of how all these things happening in the world ultimately impacted me, us. Then somewhere along the way I strayed. I drifted away from this avid pursuit of knowledge and that drift eventually led to committing the ultimate intellectual crime: I stuck my head in the sand. On purpose.

Ignorance is bliss. Isn't it? I suppose if I were shallow or so consumed in day-to-day nonsense I could live with that. Is that how I strayed? I could say it was because I decided to try being a hum-drum suburban wife who no longer cared to focus on the troubles of the world. But if you know me, you're laughing and crinkling your eyebrows. You know that's just not me. The truth is it all started with my battle with drug addiction. (yes! we get to talk about drugs and not mommy stuff! woo hoo!)

I'm not going to go back to the beginning and get into how it all started, because quite frankly this isn't some thank-the-lord-I'm-sober-now testimonial. I've been thinking long and hard about how I got so far away from the political and intellectual realm I once relished in. Every spin I put on it, all leads me back to the same conclusion. The deeper down the rabbit hole I chased the high, the further I was running away from myself without even realizing it. I can't tell you what made me stop running. There was no intervention. There were a hand full of friends that made their comments, but no one dragged my ass to rehab and told me to wake up.  Believe it or not, I simply woke up. I got tired of feeling sick. I got tired of never feeling high enough. I was just fucking tired. I called, on my own accord, the local chemical dependency center and told them I needed to talk to someone. They had me come down and meet with a tool, er I mean nurse, who asked me all sorts of personal, intrusive questions. I knew it was coming, the question that was going to make or break this deal, wait for it..."What religion are you?"

"None. I'm an atheist."

Nurse: *pause*

I asked him if the only way to go through the program was to bring Jeebus into it. He said no, they've just found that people are more successful in the program when they believe in a "higher power." Words cannot adequately expressed how livid that made me. Needless to say, I never went back. I'm not just an atheist, I'm an Existentialist. You can't look me in the eye and tell me that there is any power greater than the belief in one's Self. I found it shameful on their part that rather than teaching people to find it within themselves to be strong, they put it on something else. It was infuriating.

I knew that being in a dark place didn't mean I had to surrender my convictions to find my own light. If they couldn't help me, fuck them. I'd do it on my own. And I did. No, it wasn't done all neat and tidy in 6wks like the canned salvation most rehab programs promise. It took a long, long time to be truly freed of those demons. It was this struggle that consumed every bit of my intellect, my spirit, my physical energy. And it was ugly. Between battling my demons and trying to function in society, I was tapped out. There was nothing left to give to political activism, so it pained me to even read about it. I knew there was nothing I could contribute, so it was better to just not know. A funny thing happens when you alienate yourself. Your reality changes. What is "real" is limited to what you perceive and if you're limiting what you're allowed to perceive, it inevitably warps what is real.

Fast forward several years, and I found myself married and wanting kids. It wasn't until we finally got pregnant that I found myself interested in the world again. Perhaps it's a maternal, animal instinct to inspect the world around you for the well-being of your cub. Or maybe I've finally found the peace I struggled so hard to find for so long, that I'm ready again. Look out, folks. Revolution is coming, and she's wearing a papoose.

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