This is the farewell post from my old website, Angry White Kid, and feels like an appropriate first post on this new site.
And I promise to learn to love the way I’ve learned to fear
To unknot all the inhibitions tangled in my hair
To let my ego mound in piles around the barber chair
And make a graceful exit from my vexed and troubled years
– Saul Williams, Sea Lion
I open up Facebook or Twitter and immediately get hit by a battering ram of bad news. My social media feeds are seeing red. Once notifications or messages are tended to, I close the pages almost as quickly as I open them.
Up until a few months ago, I would have been spending much of the day online, tweeting and posting alongside my virtual comrades. Now, I cannot afford to engage in that activity.
There is a reason. For the past two years, I’ve been in an intense struggle to address a life-threatening condition. Something that has very nearly killed me. I’ve tried many different methods of treatment, and feel through much work and assistance I have arrived at an approach that, with vigilance, will hopefully keep the disease in remission.
Part of that approach has to do with me assessing the activities I’m involved in and engaging in those which are more true to myself as I’ve come to understand myself during these past two years.
An aspect of that is to stop posturing or branding myself a certain way that doesn’t resonate with who I am. The fact is that I’m not Angry White Kid. I’ve never been Angry White Kid. And I’m certainly not Angry White Kid now. I strongly disagree with much of what happens in this industrial capitalist civilization, but I’ve come to recognize anger as a superficial emotion, masking deeper truths. My truth is I’m more like Sensitive White Kid. I get angry because I’m sensitive and because this world is highly abrasive to those sensitivities on a personal and political level. (And to be clear, I don’t mean sensitive like, “Someone said something that hurt my feelings.” I don’t enjoy that, but I am referring to the millions of atrocities and brutalities being inflicted on humans, other animals and the planet daily.)
I used to make myself at home in the atrocities, and it was a wretched place to be. Now I’ve realized for my own well-being, I must take a step back from the fray. I can no longer be an echo chamber of outrage, calling attention to the latest assaults manifested by this hegemonic world system. I do not judge those who can. Please continue if that is what works for you. Relaying specific examples is important, as it creates the possibility for individual injustices to be addressed and makes tangible the critiques which may otherwise seem abstract.
As for what I’ll do instead, it’s pretentious of me to think that people really care what I do. Writing all this out is more an exercise for myself than anyone else. This is not about any change in my core beliefs, rather a reorientation of my point of engagement. I imagine I will still post about specific outrages, especially if I feel they may have gone unnoticed by most of my peers. In particular, I feel strongly about supporting prisoners and the struggle against the prison industrial complex. I will be renaming and relocating the Angry White Kid blog, as well as posting original writing more frequently on the new site. But mostly, I am interested in presenting a fuller version of myself using social media in the hopes of encountering fellow travelers. So I may put up a Mary Oliver poem while there is an uprising in Baltimore. I don’t see the two as incongruent in the least, actually.
Some may take issue with this. That is fine. This is not an exhaustive examination of my rationale. This is just me trying to start being more me in the digital world. I’ll have more details in the next week or so. It will likely be messy, but I’ve got to start somewhere. And if you have suggestions for a new handle, let me know, alright?
In solidarity and struggle,