March 29, 2003

Restoring my Faith

Since the day U.S. bombs started dropping in Iraq, I have been searching for ways to assuage my incredible rage and grief over the cruelty that is taking place. My first instinct was to protest because this has always been my primary method of catharsis. There is something so incredibly rejuvenating about collecting with others who share my sadness and anger and screaming through the streets at the top of my lungs. Chanting my demands for justice in a chorus of thousands…having my song fall on the ears of anyone who happens to be nearby…making my disapproval known on a wider scale…these things have always been able to restore me in the past.

But protest failed me this time around. I was met with police brutality, frustration from my friends and their mothers who disagree with my tactics, and complaints from coworkers about how much I was costing the city I love. Last week, I felt like a teenager who had slit her wrists as a cry for help, but instead of the world waking up to all of the things that have gone wrong, I was chastised for spilling blood on the carpet.

When protest was unsuccessful, I tried surrounding myself with things that have made me happy and comforted me in the past. Baseball, sushi, barbecues, weed, Missy Elliot… but the more I indulged in this ridiculous regimen of self-medication, the more guilt I felt for my tendency toward consumption. I kept thinking about the innocent Iraqis that are being slaughtered in order to ensure that I maintain the privilege of buying raw fish for dinner and picnicking in a beautifully manicured park.

But last night I think I found the answer to how I’m gonna get through this war with my soul intact. I went to hear Alice Walker speak and read from her new book of poems. And she was so incredibly wise and strong that I was overcome with hope. I had gotten to a point where I was beginning to doubt whether true wisdom existed and whether beauty was possible without being connected to the oppression of others. But Alice walker dashed away those fears in one fell swoop. Her voice was clear and her courage washed over the audience like a river. I left feeling baptized by her strength.

I have decided that the artist will get me through this war. It seems like such an obvious answer now that I know it. Artists have the capability to renew my faith that life is full of preciousness and that the world is full of beautiful things to take in if I challenge myself to see them. Artists remind me that there are brilliant people in this world, even if they aren’t the ones selected to run the country I live in. Artists have the capability to reveal truth, even when it is shrouded in layers upon layers of hate-filled lies. The artist is a warrior of another kind, and she will carry me through this.

Posted by j*2the*olie at March 29, 2003 11:38 AM

ok, whoops! hee hee. so as i was saying, i hear you, jolie. alice walker was amazing. she was wise and strong and down to earth. alice walker for president, god dammit!

Posted by: erica on April 1, 2003 06:27 PM