“John Laroche: You know why I like plants?
Susan Orlean: Nuh uh.
John Laroche: Because they’re so mutable. Adaptation is a profound process. Means you figure out how to thrive in the world.
Susan Orlean: [pause] Yeah but it’s easier for plants. I mean they have no memory. They just move on to whatever’s next. With a person though, adapting almost shameful. It’s like running away.”
I’m begining to feel increasingly trapped. It’s hard to be an idealist when confronted with such a soul sucking reality. Fun times with capitalist society and its extractory expectations. Somehow I’m made to feel like a failure because I don’t prescribe to the cookie cutter existence that is being shoved down my throat. School, job, marriage, children – a pancake mix life, just add your blood, sweat and tears. This is not to say that these things are intrisically bad but the way we’re pushed towards them, how they become markers of a life well lived is daunting.
My body is posited as a force of production primarily so I am only useful when I can produce. “Idleness” is our Big Bad (definetly the root of ableism imo). The way we think of time off, weekends, holidays, hobbies makes me weary. They’re just the things we do on The Side. But is The Side not where life is? Cliché but this society effectively makes us live to work instead of working to live. Work days are longer, time off a luxury. Why is it that my time is only useful if I’m producing something for monetary consumption?
I want to keep my idealism but I’m not stupid either. I don’t want to keep shaving off parts of myself just so I can afford rent and food. I’m left jagged and aimless in the monotone humdrum of modern life. I have no interest in certain industries because of their contributions to the military-industrial complex, I’m constantly riding myself raw because of the products I use (no ethical consumption in the capitalist world) but I try to remain pragmatic about my approach – I know the kinds of skills that will let me survive and maybe even thrive in the world and I do continue to develop them, skills that make me as independent from the hold of the mainstream workforce and the superstructure it helps maintain as possible.
I don’t want my livelihood to be dependent on me performing pointless acts with unseen consequences especially if the result is me personally creating more value for some faceless CEO in a day than I’ll see in a month. There has to be more to life.