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The Pursuit of Madness

Community memorial tree, naming loved ones who died in 2023 so that they can feast with us.

My brain is fogged. My body weary. I look around the room—400 impoverished people warm and feasting—and I feel nothing. Absolutely nothing.

I am growing old. Is it grief (another 68 loved ones died this year)? Is it compound trauma? Long COVID? Is it worker exploitation, bureaucratic gaslighting, systems-wide moral injury? Is it being overworked and underpaid in an era of austerity and greedflation? Is it the intimate and vicarious traumas of living under the hegemonic global regimes of racial capitalism, settler colonialism, and neoliberalism? Is it the genocides? All my energy goes to persisting. I no longer have it in me to engage in the creative activities that give me life. I resist my own collapse until exhaustion overtakes me and I sleep—which, let me be clear, is not the same as resting. The exhausted who are compelled to persist in a state of exhaustion sometimes sleep so as not to die. But they are denied rest.

“Self-sheltering” with traffic cone (to minimize the likelihood of accidental head injuries).

If circumstantial, material, economic, and political lines of flight are non-existent, blocked, actively destroyed, or rerouted back to the status quo, then the only way out that isn’t death is madness.

In 2024, I intend to go utterly, fully, delightedly, irrevocably, unapologetically, tearfully, nakedly, and joyously insane.

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