I lost hope about two months ago.
Every strong feeling I have, every relevant emotion I have, especially about my future, is something I share with my boyfriend. Yet, for the first time, I found myself hesitant and afraid to say the words: “I don’t know if I still believe I can change the world. I don’t think the world can be saved.” Expressing something that goes against the dream I’ve had for 12 years out loud, was a pretty heartbreaking moment for me. But Brexit won, and Trump won, and I educated myself on the point of view of those who were in favor of those things, and I read articles and opinions for weeks, because I just wanted to understand. And I did. I understood that besides the racists, and the sexists, and the homophobes, and the xenophobes, and the Islamophobes, there was also a lot of selfishness. A lot of people who simply did not and do not care about other people’s lives. Americans who genuinely believe that Trump is bad, but voted for him anyway, because: “All those bad things that he promised will not happen! He won’t do it!”. But see, they were tired of the political correctness, and wanted to prove a point, and wanted to be anti-establishment. So they just voted and took a chance. And, I mean, sure, he might not do those things, but… what if he does? What happens to all the minorities who will be affected? Doesn’t it matter? Don’t you care? The short answer is: “No, because, either way, I won’t be affected.”. Although, it could also be: “Yes, but not enough.”. And being the over-empathetic, over-caring, over-thinking person that I am, it genuinely made me sad. I remember writing in my book, 7-8 years ago, that: “Être égoïste est d’une facilité étonnante, car chaque humain a été créé pour l’être.”*. However, seeing how true my words were, just broke my heart at that moment.
But somehow, I still believe. I don’t particularly believe in saving the world right now, but I do believe that a lot of people are trying to. I see those around me (because, thank God, not all my friends are racist and/or ignorant and/or self-involved), who relentless try to help those around them. I’m happily surprised every time a friend of mine is indignant at a display of subtle racism/sexism/Islamophobia/homophobia – even more so when it’s a Christian straight white man -, and tells me passionately about it. I force myself to read stories about people who are compassionate, and aim to be the best they can possibly be for others. And I still try to be the best version of myself, day after day.
2017 started yesterday. And sadly, 2016 left me more cynical, less hopeful and less motivated than ever. Educating yourself on the global issues will do that to you. I have to remind myself continuously that good people do exist, that not everybody is racist or intolerant, that my friends on Facebook who are volunteering are not doing it for attention, that the stories that people tell me about random acts of kindness are, in fact, true. I didn’t used to be this way and I refuse to be that person. Yes, the world is broken. Aside from the many socioeconomic problems that are omnipresent, aside from the overwhelming selfishness and individualism in our society, the earth is also populated by huge assholes. I have been abandoned, (emotionally) abused, and sometimes neglected by the adults in my life; to then be confronted with a world in which I would often be reduced to a “black girl with big boobs”, and I know, I know, how much this world hurts. But in the midst of everything, it’s important to realize that being consumed with hatred only hurts you more. In the midst of all the horrible things happening, it’s important to take a moment to realize that there is still hope. Because there is hope. A lot of it. People build hospitals, homeless shelters, houses for those in need. People share their food, and sometimes their home, with strangers. People donate and volunteer daily. The dreams that I have, the need that I have to help others and make my life meaningful, they are shared by a million other people who also want to do everything they can to ensure that someone else’s day is a bit brighter, and someone else’s life is a bit easier. There are people all over the globe who are actively trying to make the world a better place.
I will not stop writing about the injustice and intolerance that I observe, and that I face. Because we all need to address them, and we all need to speak up. I will, however, try desperately to regain the optimism (naivety?) that I had as a child, when I realized I didn’t want to become a doctor because I didn’t want to study too hard for it, but I somehow figured that becoming a lawyer and saving the world was going to be much, much easier. I was probably wrong, but I guess it can’t hurt to try.
I wish us all a hopeful year!