On Escapism

I am as guilty as anyone of wanting to bury my head in the sand and pretend that there is no news, let alone terrible, gut-wrenching news breaking every 3 hours.  Every time a new headline flashes across my screen, my stomach sinks.  I text friends and we despair over the new low our country has hit.  Or just exchange expletives because words fail to describe the overwhelming feelings that are our reaction to what is happening. 

I mentally berate myself that I spend more time on Instagram than on the news.  But it is a defense mechanism against those feelings.  If I'm not aware that terrible things are happening in the world, then I don't have to react.  And scrolling past photo after photo of pretty dresses, my friends' adorable kids, landscapes, art...helps me to zone out and focus on the beauty that exists in the world. 

But reality is invading my escapism, too.  My screen is filled with pictures and videos from protests.  Calls to action, to compassion.  And as much as I wish I could mentally retreat from what is plaguing our nation, I find it heartening.  I am buoyed by the fact that even my sources of typically beautiful fluff are so disturbed and angry by what is happening in our country that they cannot sit idly by and do nothing.  Even if it is just a Instagram post, they are compelled to say something.  Regardless of whether it is read by no one or by multitudes, each quick post or meditative diatribe adds to the groundswell of opposition.  To the wave of outrage that I profoundly hope is building and will overtake the tide of bigotry and ignorance that is currently dominating the news.  

Sticking our heads in the sand is comforting, but is also a tremendously privileged vantage point. So many people simply do not have that option. Every day of their lives they are confronted with the realities of racism, xenophobia, police brutality or the threat of detention/deportation. Meanwhile, I could spend my whole day oblivious, if I so choose. It is absurdly unjust that my reality is so different from so many people.

So while I may still seek escapism from time to time, I am also making the choice to show up and to speak up. Not just from behind the computer screen, but also in person. To rally and to protest and to make myself speak up even when it's uncomfortable. Because it's a lot more uncomfortable for those who are detained, separated from their parents, or who are the subject of discrimination, every single day.


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