When fending off darkness and jadedness is resistance, you walk as if your joints are sandpaper.
There’s a constant ache in a part of your body you can’t quite pinpoint. Every time you smile, you throw the bags under your eyes into relief. You still smile with your eyes, though.
There’s tension in the tangling vines that grow in your core and stand sentry against any creeping despondence whenever you read the news. The knot murmurs nervously and your heart sinks a little, but you always make room for it to sink a little more. So long as there is room for your heart to sink, the fight against cynicism can keep on going. You can keep resisting. So you force your rib-cage to accommodate the shifting real estate. Your sentries hold vigil.
The walk from my workplace to my subway stop is about five minutes. It was raining when I left work; not pouring, not drizzling, just raining in that straightforward way you see in movies. I did not think to bring an umbrella with me.
I tend to forget my umbrella a lot.
For five minutes, I listened to Pure Heroine (two songs filled that journey: Bravado and A World Alone) and walked with my hood down. At some point I decided to unbraid my hair. I tried to imagine what a sight I must be, a small woman in a puffy jacket, dressed ostensibly in work clothes from the hips down, with damp, wild curls everywhere.
I smiled. I smelled the air and I kept walking. I never stopped smiling.
“I feel awake for the first time in days,” I texted. I cried a little on the train from how overwhelmed I was.
When pushing away futility, you try not to question why you feel the way you do. Feeling is enough; feeling is resistance.
I realized a few weeks ago that I never mourn losses or traumatic experiences. I grit my teeth, wipe a few tears that had the audacity to leak, and go straight to autopilot mode as if my productivity is more important than feeling. What this, of course, means is that whenever the emotions do come out they’re never apropos to the given situation.
The only thing worse than not feeling is misguided feeling.
I am scared of the future. I am cautiously optimistic in my generation. I am angry at the generations that have come before me. I am nervous about my place in the world, but I am sure about my purpose. I cry freely when I read news of death and destruction, I seethe in the face of injustice.
I’m afraid to say I’m sad, but I think I’m just tired.
I am fighting the impulse to numb myself as a person because I fear death; not the death of a mortal vessel, but the death of my personhood.
It seems like an exaggeration to say being jaded against the darker aspects of the world is the same as death, but I spent years in the shoes of my Pakistaniat, knowing people die because the world is cultivated by the jaded.
My feet hurt. It is a reassuring ache.