Inside the American Nightmare

A few words appear, then disappear in reverse.

We say it and don’t say it. We ‘Happy New Year’ and scuttle away as fast as our fragile bones can take us to the safety of isolation once again.

What do you even say when your country is falling to hell.

The melon sky simmers the last of the winter day’s sky into smoke as I close my eyes and dream of anywhere else.

It happens like this: you are repeatedly filled simultaneously with shock and dread. As you are trying to process the horror of the most recent trauma, you are bracing yourself also for the next.

And there is always a next.

And this is repeated for years and years non-stop. The relentlessness of cruelty. The cheering on of the madness.

What is even worth saying when you are so exhausted by the end of the day your stomach hurts and your eyes ache and everything around you is cold as the icicles you saw last weekend, formed into perfect sharp daggers by frozen rushes of water plunging through the trees.

It is not enough to survive. You have to try to do it minute by minute, focus on each heart beat, each update, each revelation more gruesome than the last, you have to cling to each, like stepping stones you grab with your fists or your teeth.

The angriest parts of yourself, the saddest, they cling. they try to move you forward in spite of themselves. In spite of you.

Try to hold on. Try to hold on, it has to be over soon.

But nothing ends anymore. Not around here.

I’m sick to death of counting down to things. Dates. Elections. Deaths. Infections. Decisions. Betrayals. Disasters we should have seen coming.

We should have stopped it. It should never have come to this.

And so a deep well of disappointment, of desperation for a time gone by, opens up inside to swallow the shock and the dread and the utter, utter grief. And you realize the abyss they threw you into is threatening now the last of your sanity, your will, your equilibrium.

And if you understand what I am saying here, if you know how this feels, people will tell you not to feel it. They will try to cheer you up, make you see the good things, they will try to force your healing before it is time.

And you can tell them all to fuck off. Because I will tell you this, above everything else, feel your feelings. The true ones. If they are honest they are hurting, aching, crying, screaming.

This has been an American tragedy over and over and over for years.

We got here by denial. We laid our faith down in a bed of lies and hoped someone else would save us.

I am not sure why I write this, maybe to document my experience for fear it drifts away from me, even though I kind of wish it would.

We should be most afraid that we may forget. They want nothing more than for us to forget.

I try to catch all of it. I try to write it into history, but my mind gets heavy and my spirit falls like frigid winter rain.

It is tiresome, you know? This waiting for the end.

 

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Photo by Mike Palmowski

31 Replies to “Inside the American Nightmare”

  1. You are dead right. The end seems to slip away. It kind of feels like the last 5 years have nothing but an elusive final straw, absolute line to not be crossed, final THE END. Yet it never was the final straw. Lines were crossed on a daily basis. The bar kept getting lower and higher at the same time. The end of insanity seemed nothing more than a fantasy. A mirage.
    Nevertheless, the elections happened. This time THE END actually had a due date. The monster was defeated. Only that he wasn’t. Years of enabling empowered him, made him feel invincible. Worse yet, enabling continued. It still continues. It’s fucking disgusting. Heartbreaking.
    I was shocked to see Capitol being overrun. It brought back memories of civil war in Yugoslavia that I got to experience live when I was 15 (and then through my relatives living in Croatia and friends living in Bosnia and Serbia pretty much until I reached my twenties). Seeing neighbors turn on each other just because of politics despite living together side by side for decades before was a truly traumatic thing to see. The bloodshed witnessed is something that remains part of my being always. When I was watching Capitol building siege I was immediately reminded of the Balkan wars. Though I don’t think it will get that far (at the same time given how things are right now, the tensions, the divide – it’s not completely impossible) it was still incredible sad and shocking to see. My perspective might be a bit tainted too since I lived in USA for 15 years and have for a long time considered it to be my second home. That being said I can tell you that Europeans in general were shocked as well. While the sentiment of USA being a prime example of how democracy should works has been somewhat damaged in the past decade (war in Iraq was a turning point), USA was still seen as a fortress where democracy was safe from events as seen on January 6th.
    If there wasn’t Covid 19 crisis the reaction would be even worse. Some compared it to how they felt when 9/11 happened. Most of us thought it was impossible that it ever came anywhere close to what transpired last Tuesday.
    Yet it did happen and in many ways USA will never be the same. I myself agree but at the same time know that if I look at how you guys deal with things in the past – you guys are resilient and motivated af and will come out better than ever. It will take quite some time to heal but damn, you guys sure know how to rise from the ashes and rebuild!
    I know that this might not help right now yet – THE END is fucking here!!! Less than a week away! Let the countdown begin!!! ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 5 people

  2. it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings, amc.
    (she’s coming, but she’s runnin’ late).
    – considered & well constructed –
    you came, you conquered, you saw!
    again! happy new year!
    when do we stop with happy new year?
    xo

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Your writing👏🏾🙌🏽

    I have never felt so sad seeing all that is happening in America. And I don’t even live there, I can only imagine how you feel.

    It is truly a sad time and all we can do is dream for a better time where basic humanity plays a factor. More unity. It shall come. xx

    Liked by 2 people

  4. No doubt what you write here rings true. I try disassociate from any sort of national cultural identity, and avoid any mainstream news information as it feeds nothing but negativity. When you let go of your identity as an “American”, stop absorbing the toxicity of the media, and begin to live life as it appears right in front of you, things get much better. I live my own life, not the life I’m told I’m living.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m writing this from the UK with the deepest compassion for what you have been through in the US, I really put my heart out to you as somebody who knows what it feels like to be neglected by the government who is supposed to protect & serve you, and I really have hope that Biden will lead you to a stabler and more secure future 💕

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Very well put. I can relate to so much of this from across the pond. The UK is gripped by a similar endless cycle of tragic mistake and failure and people cheering the mistakes like utter lunatics. You have hope now and we over here in the UK are clinging to your hope, as we don’t yet have our own.

    Liked by 2 people

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