I’ve scaled back my social media consumption a lot in the last year. My feeds have become so full of anger, and not unjustifiably. It’s not hard to make me angry, too, but past a certain point, anger doesn’t help me get anything done. So I filter.
Of course, while filtering social media heavily has made me happier on the whole, it brings the unexpected complication of making me feel guilty about being happy when so many people are suffering. I try to remember my being so unhappy and angry I can’t do my work doesn’t help anyone, including myself. And being happy—not just as an absence of anger and grief, but actively experiencing joy—takes energy.
But I think it’s also a form of resistance.
To keep being able to do my work, the work I believe matters.
To be happy, despite all the systems’ best efforts to grind me down.
So I’m working, not just on keeping myself from being overwhelmed by the state of the world, or even on seizing happiness where I can find it, but on doing what I can to put happiness into the world. So that maybe I can help give someone else pieces of joy to hold onto when everything is falling apart around them. I want that in my life, and in my art.
Putting happiness into the world is my rejection of a world in which there is no space for my happiness, for small moments of joy. And I will keep putting it in, even when screaming into the void is the only rational response.
It’s not a substitute for other forms of resistance. This is an “in addition to,” not an “instead of.” But it’s one that, while arguably trite, I think matters.
It’s easy to add more anger to the world. Joy is harder.
But here, have a cat picture. =)