• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

CounterPunch needs you. piggybank-icon You need us. The cost of keeping the site alive and running is growing fast, as more and more readers visit. We want you to stick around, but it eats up bandwidth and costs us a bundle. Help us reach our modest goal (we are half way there!) so we can keep CounterPunch going. Donate today!
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Boredom and Suffering and Safety and Liberty

I’m not going to lie to you, dearest motherfuckers. My life is kind of a dumpster fire right now. In fact, it’s been kind of a dumpster fire for the last few years. Even aside from my clinical crosses to bare: anxiety, depression, OCD, ADD, IBS, Lyme disease, dysphoria, bubonic plague, etc: The last few years have felt like a Macy’s Day Parade of Ballardian car crashes. My grandmother gets dementia and has to be moved through fifty different fucking homes because none of them can be bothered to treat her like a goddamn human being unless their paid in speed boats. My cat and loyal companion of nearly twenty years loses both thyroids, shits everywhere and slowly dies on me. Then my best humanoid friend since high school up and moves to a different goddamn continent. Then my father gets run over by a sleep deprived paper-man and finds out he has cancer in the emergency room. Then some sick fuck shoots a geezer and blows his brains out next door to my loony Nana’s latest nursing home. Then the cops murder another friend in cold blood for being autistic while black. And then and then and then and then….

It’s gotten to the point where I’ve begun having weekly panic attacks reducing me to sobbing jello thrashing violently on my bathroom floor. It didn’t use to be this way. Its times like these I actually miss being a shut-in. During the agoraphobic half of my twenties my days were typically structured around doing whatever the fuck I felt like whenever the fuck I felt like it. I could binge watch a half dozen French horror movies or completely lose myself killing cops on Grand Theft Auto and sink a week into researching the finer points of Wilhelm Reich’s Orgone Therapy. I had no friends, no blog, no job, no obligations whatsoever. When the outside world got too menacing I could just make myself disappear like a ghost in my parents basement where they’d never find me. I had nothing to fear and that was the point. The universe had grown too goddamn big for me to cope with, so I chose to make the universe go away and become a hermit with no worries. No worries, that is, except my crippling loneliness, my total disgust with my biological sex, my fear of dying alone in that goddamn basement and my downright terminal boredom. And that’s the trade off.

Madame de Stael once mused that, in life, one must choose between boredom and suffering, and I’ve spent the better part of the more stressful half of my twenties learning this lesson the hard way. My life in isolation may have been safe but it was also totally unfulfilling. As terrifying and painful as the last few years of my life have been I have fucking lived them and I’ve lived them my way. I’ve turned my little blog into a genuine menace to society. I have embraced the Lokian spiritual chaos of my fluid gender identity. I have made friends with everyone from single-black mothers to neofascist wack-jobs, the two most dangerous kinds of people on earth. I’ve also become a contributing editor to the worlds most dangerous website, Attack the System, not to mention a regular contributor to the vanguard of the Fifth Estate, CounterPunch. I’ve found my place in a tribe that I’ve been searching for my whole life and I volunteer handling diseased piss and blood for my people at a free AIDS clinic. Not only have I embraced my participation in the joyful suffering of the world but I’ve embraced outright danger. I have embraced anarchy, not just as a philosophy but as a lifestyle, and those things are very much related.

In life, one must chose between boredom and suffering. Similarly, I’ve come to believe that in politics, one must choose between safety and liberty. As a shut-in, I embraced safety, not just as a lifestyle but as a philosophy. I was a dutiful state socialist and the idea of a well regulated egalitarian society was as appealing to me as the shelter of my parent’s basement. As a recovering hermit in the mad world I’ve come to find my past affection for benevolent statism to be almost as stifling as the mask of my former gender identity. The truth is, that a world of strict gun control, Scandinavian style welfare and the prohibition of victimless crimes probably would be safer. But it would be as boring as living in a human zoo. Sure, we’d all be well fed and taken care of, but we wouldn’t be free. Like my former existence as a shut-in, it would be safe but totally unfulfilling. And for some people maybe that’s enough, but I simply can’t bare to live that way anymore. I didn’t choose the terrifying liberty of the outside world to be a part of a society that’s just as safe as my parent’s basement.

So I’ve decided to embrace suffering, even with all its heartbreaks and panic attacks. And I’ve decided to embrace the liberty of anarchism even with all it’s overdoses, border jumpers and active shooters, because, like another quotable corpse named Zapata once quipped, I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees. Come hell, dearest motherfuckers. Come hell.

More articles by:

Nicky Reid is an agoraphobic anarcho-genderqueer gonzo blogger from Central Pennsylvania and assistant editor for Attack the System. You can find him online at Exile in Happy Valley.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

May 21, 2019
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Locked in a Cold War Time Warp
Roger Harris
Venezuela: Amnesty International in Service of Empire
Patrick Cockburn
Trump is Making the Same Mistakes in the Middle East the US Always Makes
Robert Hunziker
Custer’s Last Stand Meets Global Warming
Lance Olsen
Renewable Energy: the Switch From Drill, Baby, Drill to Mine, Baby, Mine
Dean Baker
Ady Barkan, the Fed and the Liberal Funder Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
Maduro Gives Trump a Lesson in Ethics and Morality
Jan Oberg
Trump’s Iran Trap
David D’Amato
What is Anarchism?
Nicky Reid
Trump’s War In Venezuela Could Be Che’s Revenge
Elliot Sperber
Springtime in New York
May 20, 2019
Richard Greeman
The Yellow Vests of France: Six Months of Struggle
Manuel García, Jr.
Abortion: White Panic Over Demographic Dilution?
Robert Fisk
From the Middle East to Northern Ireland, Western States are All Too Happy to Avoid Culpability for War Crimes
Tom Clifford
From the Gulf of Tonkin to the Persian Gulf
Chandra Muzaffar
Targeting Iran
Valerie Reynoso
The Violent History of the Venezuelan Opposition
Howard Lisnoff
They’re Just About Ready to Destroy Roe v. Wade
Eileen Appelbaum
Private Equity is a Driving Force Behind Devious Surprise Billings
Binoy Kampmark
Bob Hawke: Misunderstood in Memoriam
J.P. Linstroth
End of an era for ETA?: May Basque Peace Continue
Weekend Edition
May 17, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Trump and the Middle East: a Long Record of Personal Failure
Joan Roelofs
“Get Your Endangered Species Off My Bombing Range!”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Slouching Towards Tehran
Paul Street
It’s Even More Terrible Than You Thought
Rob Urie
Grabby Joe and the Problem of Environmental Decline
Ajamu Baraka
2020 Elections: It’s Militarism and the Military Budget Stupid!
Andrew Levine
Springtime for Biden and Democrats
Richard Moser
The Interlocking Crises: War and Climate Chaos
Ron Jacobs
Uncle Sam Needs Our Help Again?
Eric Draitser
Elizabeth Warren Was Smart to Tell FOX to Go to Hell
Peter Bolton
The Washington Post’s “Cartel of the Suns” Theory is the Latest Desperate Excuse for Why the Coup Attempt in Venezuela has Failed
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Analysis of Undecideds Suggests Biden’s Support May be Exaggerated
Peter Lackowski
Eyewitness in Venezuela: a 14-year Perspective
Karl Grossman
Can Jerry Nadler Take Down Trump?
Howie Hawkins
Does the Climate Movement Really Mean What It Says?
Gary Leupp
Bolton and the Road to the War He Wants
Jill Richardson
Climate Change was No Accident
Josh Hoxie
Debunking Myths About Wealth and Race
David Barsamian
Iran Notes
David Mattson
Social Carrying Capacity Politspeak Bamboozle
Christopher Brauchli
The Pompeo Smirk
Louis Proyect
Trotsky, Bukharin and the Eco-Modernists
Martha Burk
Will Burning at the Stake Come Next?
John W. Whitehead
The Deadly Perils of Traffic Stops in America
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail