Alienation is at the top of the list of deplorable aspects of the human condition. Alienation and islation are married to each other. Alienation is the antithesis of community and the underbelly of hope.
I’ve blogged before here about the fact that sixteen years ago I was teaching at the University of Colorado when my boss put me on medical leave after I disclosed my battle with depression. Despite suing the university under the ADA and winning a small settlement, I took the dismissal to heart and let it end my teaching career. I took subsequent hits to the psyche to heart as well: the collapse of a relationship, falls from horses, economic marginalization and the deterioration of my health. I withdrew, over time, from my community and gave up on remaining connected to my own muse.
Alienated, I am furious at what has happened to me and others like me. We are the victims of a system that rewards people who appear to be doing well and functioning at a high level, and shuns people down on their luck or different by virtue of how they appear, shoving them to the sidelines. We need advocacy, but there isn’t any. The personal becomes very political.
I should take a page from Obama’s book; he’s gone about the business of being president and not let the BS flung at him by the GOP get him down. Rightwing conservatives want to portray him as arrogant and not listening; I believe that he is courageous, modeling how to take a hit with grace, still standing, giving himself to relationship-building and wisely accruing the support of big powers like India. He has nothing to lose, as he can’t do anything right in the eyes of the racist right wing.
It is true that I’ve made a huge effort to write and produce good work since January, and that I’ve written a memoir, a novel, numerous essays, and two collections of poetry. But the minute I stop my frenzied daily production of words, my nemesis alienation with its harbingers depression and stasis, is waiting.
I’m tired of living in survival mode– but I know that I have to get tired enough to make changes. I know that it’s up to me to summon the will to take care of myself and not permit the actions of others to define my life. It’s a tall order. We either save ourselves, or not– we either accept help in overcoming a malaise of spirt and the sense that the fat lady has sung, or not.
As a fat lady who sings, I would hope that anyone who happens to read this who might know of someone who looks depressed and seems to be a loner, that we all have our pride. It is very hard to reach out– especially if you have a massive fear of rejection.
Thanks for putting up with this. Check back later for a more upbeat post, and see my recent poem up at La Parola Vivace, where Blogger doesn’t screw up my lining and the white letters on dark look so classy.