This cynic will stand: musings at the end of a miserable year


After having squeezed every bit of juice out of the mountain of bitter, sour lemons this year relentlessly threw in my (and most of our) general direction, even the lemonade went stale.

In case you’ve been away or happen to be one of those lucky few that Mercury retrograde isn’t currently clobbering with an assortment of mishaps and miseries, let me briefly fill you in on how this year went.

Yes, we had some good things too. But for the most part, it’s been a stampede of horrible truths and betrayals; of wishes fulfilled and consistently reversed the instant they produced some measure of joy; of wonderful opportunities shattered the instant they created a bit of hope.

Furthermore (yes, there’s more!)…all the skeletons came out of all the closets. And every can of worms known to man spilled its notably rotten contents onto our plates.

The ugliest tendencies in our individual and common spaces rose and roared. Death and misery took over the ballroom.

Withered and weary, we still served meals, put up trees, candles, and similar. We prayed, meditated, hoped, baked, washed, organized, prayed some more, cursed, ate, fasted, medicated, yelled, argued, and rationalized.

In the end,  despite efforts, too much of what is unfair, painful and wretched triumphed over what is decent, reasonable and promising.

Like so many I’m sure, during this hectic and profoundly depressing-at-times holiday season, I was left at a loss as to how the “I believe in Santa” t-shirt I wear to bed (plug in your own metaphor for hopeful-ness here) can possibly be reconciled with injustices I can no longer excuse or explain, sadness I have no more strength to process or carry, and in general, with a sense of profound hopelessness.

After yet another day of adventures that included almost losing my ATM card, I realized I pretty much reached the absolute end of my wits when I caught myself yelling at the universe while driving under a menacing, steel-grey sky, and entirely too many dirty clouds.

I informed it in no uncertain terms that it is a cruel, nasty bastard. And that I hope it is now satisfied for having turned me too into an exhausted cynic. Yes me, the fool who used to believe in all kinds of wonderful things, and has a blog to prove it.

All would have gone well with my outburst and defeat had I not felt this voice somewhere out there asking with not a small measure of amusement and anticipation: “So, you give up? You finally admit you’ve been defeated?”

Hold on a second darling universe. You may be bigger and stronger and all that. You may have systematically drained every bit of poetry, hope, energy, innocence, trust, and joy out of me and so many others this year with your lessons and sick games. But you are so not going to be amused by this, and lick your lips like a starved predator while you wait for me to kneel!

Oh no. There will be none of that. This cynic will stare you down and stand.

I don’t know about you dear reader, but I finally get it. This relentless stampede of misery and injury we call 2016 pushed us, and everything else to the edge. The farthest, sharpest, scariest edge.

And…at the edge of every disaster, suffering and obstacle, within us and around us, there is a choice.

We may not be able to stop a situation from being difficult to the point of hopeless despair. We may have barely a shred of strength or hope left. If that.

Still, we do have a choice when it comes to what we do about the good, beautiful, loving, dignified and genuine bits in ourselves and all around us. We can still choose…to give up, or to stand for those things worth defending.

And by godz, no matter what foul mood they’re in, or what torments the universe decides to test us with, there are so many things here worth defending.

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