By Isabelle Laureta
What the hell is happening with the world? I honestly want to quit social media because every time I open it, I’m reminded of how cruel people can be. With every scroll, there’s homophobia, bad politics in and out of the country, sexism, instigation of rape culture, people dying, children suffering, hate, and all the ugliest things you can imagine! Sometimes I wonder how humanity got here. What have we become?
I live an okay life. I have a stable job, a loving family, and a great social life. But these days, the things I’ve said above set me back, sometimes to the point where I lost interest on things because, at the back of my mind, there’s a voice saying we’re doomed. I’m trying to stay motivated, but there are days it’s just so hard. The world is burning right before our eyes, and I feel like it’s beyond repair at this point. I mean, what can we do, really? I keep thinking what kind of future still is left for us. Why do bad things have to happen?
You have no idea how many times I’ve said the same things to myself while reading your letter. Now you’re probably going to think I’m the wrong person to ask and, quite frankly, on bad days, I kind of think so, too. One of the hardest things to do is to keep hoping for something good to happen when the entire world is throwing you evidence showing that it’s all downhill from here. One of the easiest things to do is to give up and just accept that there’s nothing we can do about it.
When I woke up this morning, I immediately checked my phone and saw a text from a friend. She was asking me if I knew any lawyer who could offer services pro bono because apparently, a friend of her sister is looking for one to file a case against their neighbor who raped her.
Over breakfast, my mom showed me a before and after photo of Marawi. The“before,” a nice scene of establishments, not too luxurious, but homey enough to make me think that life must be good for the people living there. The “after” is the same establishments, but turned into rubble and filled with flags of extremist organizations I didn’t even bother to recognize anymore.
Last Friday, I woke up to the news of Chester Bennington’s suicide and I was so heartbroken that I didn’t listen to anything other than Linkin Park.
On those days, it was toxicity and sadness that I woke up to, for which I would need hours and hours of therapy. And that’s just me, who has the privilege of waking up to the meows of my cat instead of gunshots and faraway bombings, who gets to sleep soundly at night without any fear that my neighbor might get into my room and sexually harass me, who gets to have my hearty breakfast ready on the table instead of having to literally scour for grass and mud just to have anything to eat like the people suffering in Syria do. And it sucks so much that in many parts in the world, people are experiencing the terror and harassment and fatal depression firsthand instead of just hearing about them somewhere. You’re right. It sucks that this is the world we live in. But you’re also wrong about one thing, because this world isn’t beyond repair. It would just take a million times more effort, but I like to think it isn’t.
I had a chat with a friend about this exact topic. Like you, we were both frustrated and hopeless and just fed up. We had questions about why these things had to happen, and while we don’t have the answers for that, there was one thing we both agreed on—that we have to keep fighting the good fight.
Sometimes, the darkness is too overpowering that it casts a shadow over the good stuff. Murderers, homophobes, perverts, dictators, and the Facebook comments section may scare us and, in most days, it may look like they’re winning. But what we sometimes fail to see are the people who continue to create beauty and kindness in this world despite all the ugliness that’s been tainting it. Musicians who sing of hope, artists who paint their canvasses with colors that could make a stranger stop and smile, people who make us laugh despite everything, Uber and Grab drivers who make sure you get home safe when you’re drunk on a Saturday night—these kinds of people are what make the world a better place.
They’re the same reason you shouldn’t give up, not because they are proof that there’s some good left in the world, but because they are proof that humanity is still capable of love and kindness. And by humanity, I mean you. Us. All of us. You ask me what we can do at this point, and I’d like to believe that while it’s true that a single person can only do so much and with very little impact, it’s also true that if—in everything that you do—you come from a place of kindness, compassion, and—no matter how hard—hope, instead of resentment and frustration, it might not only change the way you see the world, but it’ll also one day change the way somebody else does. Imagine the ripple effect it can create.
Coldplay released a new song recently. The lyrics go “Now you could run and just say they’re right. No I’ll never be no one in my whole life. Or you could turn and say no wait they’re wrong, and get to keep on dancing all life long.” It’s going to be so darn difficult, we’ll get disheartened more times than we can imagine, sometimes it’ll seem like it’s not worth it, and life has a way of ambushing us with bad stuff, but it also has a way of surprising us with the good, and in times like this, holding on to that can make all the difference.
Ask me your deepest, weirdest, darkest questions! I’m no expert at anything and I don’t have it all figured out either (because, honestly, who does?), but let me at least try. Send them over to firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s make sense of this crazy millennial life together! <3