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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.

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

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