“If you named a kid Rasputin, do you think that would have a negative effect on his life?”

Content warning:  suicide, change

Kickapoo indigenous American woman


We lost Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.  Many of us are feeling the tremor in The Force.  The American Fairytale broke.  Our adolescent nation is enduring the agonizing transition from child to adult.  She’s reeling as she’s forced to change against her will.  The strategies that used to work are unraveling and failing.  Words like accountability, consequences, and future haunt her sleep.

She’s teetering between self-destruction and an unknown future.  The fear is paralyzing.  We all feel it.  It’s like gravity slowly increased when we weren’t paying attention.  The low-level hysteria we’re all carrying around, as a result, fills us with an unfamiliar feeling.  We’re Americans.  We believe The American Fairytale.  We have expectations and ideals.  Violations of our rights shock and traumatize us.  The Fairytale doesn’t include (or allow for) such things.

There’s probably a word for this feeling in German.  It’s uncomfortable.  It siphons our energy.  We’re not sleeping well because there haven’t been any breaks to catch our collective breath.  Every day, things are a little bit heavier.  We think we know what needs to happen, but we’ve lost faith in our team.  We don’t believe in Team America as much.  The horrific wounds from fighting each other are still too raw.

little pigs getting along

Change is scary.  Every time.  We’re too intelligent as a species to trust the unknown easily.  We only need to get burned once to make the connection.  We know we as Americans have something in common deep down.  We have that spark inside us that believes knows we can do incredible things as a people.  We have receipts all over the place.  We’re vast and different, and we know it.  It makes us unbelievably strong.

When you zoom in, there’s always pettiness in groups.  But zoom out, and you quickly realize we’re a little bit of everything.  We can’t help but be a bit arrogant, knowing many others also believe but aren’t American.  We know we’re fortunate in the big picture.  At least, we used to know this.  Now, we’re not sure anymore.  We’re starting to recognize this spark exists in every nation.  We’re feeling all the feels so often we’re exhausted.  So we teeter within our teenaged homeland.

Self-destruction, or unknown change.  The answer seems evident until you zoom in.  We want everyone else to change, except us.  We still want to hold tightly to the hate we’re so used to carrying.  We can’t imagine life without it.  It’s hard.  It requires practice, which means often failing.  Failing hurts.  Every time.  It sucks, and we’re so tired of aching.  But we can’t sleep well, so it never seems to go away.  Sigh.

I happen to be an expert on coping with this shitty status quo Americans are experiencing.  I’m far from alone in this skill, and in good company.  This unnamed dreadful feeling weighing you down is my typical.  While I do feel this present heaviness of being American too, it’s familiar ground for me.  I live here.  I wish I could say there are all sorts of steps you can take to get some relief.  Unfortunately, there’s just one:  Practice.

Practice being tolerant of everyone you encounter.  Treat others as you want them to treat you.  It doesn’t matter how they’re different than you.  They’re alive.  That means they have feelings, dreams, hopes, ideals, etc.  Sometimes they’re not going to reciprocate.  That doesn’t matter.  Walk away.  It’s their problem.  You’re doing your part to change.  You rock.  Change over self-destruction.  Let’s make our spark glow.

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