No little brackets this time. This post is by me.
I'm not unaware of the goings-on right now. People have tried to isolate me from the facts, but even though my friends were only looking out for my well being, they were wrong to do it. I'm not proud of myself for hiding how deeply hurt I was, but I don't feel guilty for feeling it. Gabby tells me that's a start, really looking at my situation as something that happened and moving forward.
That being said, keeping me out of the loop isn't going to help in the long term. I'm feeling much more stable than I did even a few days ago. I know I'm a long way from healthy, but there's just no way for me to function in the long view if I can't handle the difficult situations we encounter.
While I was in my little cell, friends spent time with me. As time goes on I might decide to share some of those conversations, but even if I don't I will make a point to spend more time with them and talk about them. Seeing Courtney, Steve, Pat, Becky, Will, and others so much and so often over the last week drove home how much I rely on them. If I had put more effort into those friendships, maybe my burden wouldn't have felt so heavy.
And it isn't as though I was cut off from the world completely in there. There were a few surprise zombie attacks on the newest expansion. I heard the bells loud and clear. Even when I was curled up in shame on my cot I felt the overwhelming urge to fight the undead when the bells rang. I wasn't allowed anywhere near a weapon, of course.
I guess the important lesson I took away from the experience is that I don't want to die. At least, I'm willing to live and fight for others at a bare minimum.
Another lesson is that all of us are at risk. Not to beat a dead horse, but I want to drive home the point that this has been a long time coming for me. I've held it together in the face of many small disasters but the damage was cumulative. I don't think I'm the only person who has been bent and broken by the things we do. The decisions we've made may have been necessary but that doesn't mean they don't kill us a little inside.
I wouldn't be posting today--and believe me, it's taking a lot of effort to remain calm while I type--if Will and the rest of the council weren't still weighing the future of the captured Exiles and what our stance will be on those free Exiles who threaten war on us if we kill the captives out of hand.
For the first time in a very long span, I'm not a part of the discussion. The council wouldn't ask me my opinion right now even if they didn't care about putting pressure on my brain. My judgment may not be sound. I recognize that as a real possibility. Part of my breakdown has been the constant violence we've lived through. If I say that we should negotiate for peace at all costs, that might be a sign that I'm now too damaged to properly respond with force when needed.
That's entirely possible. In fact, I'm worried that might be the case. It's still early for me, yet. Only time will tell. Instead of suggesting a way forward and hoping that I will influence the council enough to make my choice rather than their own, I will just make a statement and hope that we come to the right decision.
To the council and all citizens of New Haven:
No. To everyone, everywhere.
I ask you to take a few moments to stop. At some point today when you feel overwhelmed or angry or just sick of it all, I would like you to pause. Close your eyes and let the breeze move over you. Focus on something around you. Maybe the noise of children playing or men working. Could be the smell of lunch being made. Take that time and let yourself simply be a person in a place, with no larger context than that.
No matter who you are, whether you're an Exile or a marauder or a citizen of a community like our own. Please stop and take a calming breath when you need it. After that refreshing moment, I want you to remember that every other person out there is just like you. They might be an enemy bent on ending your life, but history is full of foes having respect and understanding for each other.
We are all matter. From the most base subatomic particles, we're the dust of stars given shape and life. We share a common origin and the unique pain of watching the same beloved world die in front of us. Every living person now has had to end the existence of beings that were once what we are now. Some of the walking dead were loved ones, others strangers, but I doubt that many of us ended those dreary second lives without some degree of regret.
I have gained so many new pieces of perspective from my breakdown. We have allowed the pressures of life, so hard now and such a struggle, force us into corners. Yes, building the future is the only goal we can strive for, but Will was right. More than I realized when I first read his post.
We don't have to continue the cycle of violence to prove anything. We don't have to maintain some abstract sense of toughness to those who would call us enemy. We are the ones in control of our decisions, not them. Not only can we choose to be compassionate to those who may not deserve it, but it's our responsibility to set the tone. We've done that in the past, most notably in the very structure of our community. But turning points such as this demand that we step back and take a hard look at our recent history. We have to decide if the time has come to raise the bar for ourselves ethically and morally.
In short, we have to choose whether or not the risk of seeming weak is worth setting a better example.
I don't know if it is or not. Honestly. I'm not qualified to even speculate on that right now. I'm not proposing any particular plan. God knows I've been wrong enough in my life to question every choice I make. I'm simply asking everyone out there to stop and calm yourselves, try to imagine the point of view of the enemy. See if there isn't some common ground to work from.
It may be that the Exiles are bloodthirsty to a fault and not open to compromise. We've seen that before, which is why they became an enemy in the first place. If that is the case then we may not be at a point of stability that allows us as a society to take a leap of faith. Only two and a half years into these new dark ages, I admit the possibility that it may take years before we can begin to trust enough to risk ourselves on principle.
If, however, the Exiles and others like them are willing to listen and at least try to work something out, then I ask only that you give the possibility a chance. The thought of cutting down people who genuinely want to change themselves for the better because we once said some words and feel bound to follow through makes me nauseous.
Again, it might be necessary. That is your collective call to make.
I meant this to be a plea for sincere deliberation to all of you out there, but yeah, it ended up being pointed mostly at my own people. I will back whatever call you make. I beg that you only remember that no matter what they've done, these are human beings whose fate you're deciding. If they have to die, please be sure that you're acting out of real need and not obstinate ego.
If we have to commit to war, I only ask that you make sure it's one we have to fight for ethical reasons. Not because the only way to prove we're morally superior is by killing the enemy. Humanity has had enough of that over the centuries.
We're all specks wandering this great big globe, made up of the same stuff. There aren't so many living people left that we can afford to lose any for stupid reasons. If this rambling post makes any sense at all, I hope that last part sticks with you. In the final equation, it boils down to the same mentality that makes all of us survivors in the first place: waste nothing that can benefit the group.
Think about it. That's all I can ask.