We Dance on the Edge of Destruction

I’m not okay with last week’s election results. This weekend I indulged in self-care. Then I picked myself up. And I’m totally and completely aware of the privilege I have in being able to do that. That I can be upset, but continue on with my normal life without the fear that is plaguing people I love, strangers I see on the street. I am lucky, in so many ways, and the only way I know to help is in small, voiceless ways and acts of kindness. It’s not something I’ll scream about because that’s just not me and again, I’m aware of the privilege I have that I don’t have to scream and I don’t have to fight. But because I’m not screaming and not fighting doesn’t mean that I don’t care.

There’s a song in the musical NEXT TO NORMAL called Perfect For You. Lyrics are below, if you are interested. I maintain that the love story in Next to Normal is the best love story in all of musical theater, but that’s irrelevant. The point is that this song has been in my head for months. Almost a year, maybe. Every single day when something happens (literally every day it seems), I start singing this. The world is a mess. That part of this is relevant.
It used to be a fear of the end of the world that kept me up at night. Mega-tsunamis and earthquakes and asteroids and other various natural disasters that ushered in the apocalypse. But lately that fear has subsided and now it’s a fear of a man-made apocalypse. War, and death, and disease. That this new regime will usher us into a country of fear, always cowering and watching our backs, watching each other’s backs. Looking overhead for a bomb to drop, literally or figuratively. I’m scared. I can’t even remotely imagine how scared other people must be.
I don’t know what the solution is. I don’t know what will happen. I worry that now there is so much hate and fear in the world that nothing can be done to stop it. Maybe this is a moment of worse-case scenario and it will get better. We’ll get better. But I fear that it won’t.
I know that wearing a safety pin is a meaningless gesture. I know it says, “I’m here for you, but I’m going to stay on this side.” But to me it means that you can look at me and see I’m a safe space in a bad world. If you feel threatened, you can sit by me. If you need someone to talk to, you can talk to me. I’ll do what I can, which may not be enough. It may never be enough.
This morning I came in to work and there was an email from the firm’s managing partner. We are an international firm with over 1,000 attorneys. The email was to assure everyone in our office that this is a safe space. That no matter in what direction the country goes, you can count on us. We are here for you. It’s small. It’s something. It’s all some of us know or are able to do at this point.
There is a lot of uncertainty right now. A lot of anger and a lot of anxiety and a lot of fear. So much fear. And I can’t do much. I’ll try to be better, but I’m hindered by things I can’t talk about here. I can’t talk about them for the same reason I can’t be better for you. But I want to. I’ll try.
For now, all I can say is, this is a safe space. I am a safe space. I’m here if you need me. “I can’t fix what’s fucked up, but one thing I know I can do – I can be perfect for you.”*
HENRY
Our planet is poison, the oceans the air
Around and beneath and above you
 
NATALIE
Um Henry that’s true and I totally care
 
HENRY
I’m trying to tell you I love you
 
(spoken)
NATALIE
What?
 
HENRY
The world is at war
Filled with death and disease
We dance on the edge of destruction
The globe’s getting warmer by deadly degrees
 
NATALIE
And this is one fucked up seduction
 
HENRY
This planet is pretty much broken beyond all repair
But one thing is working if you’re standing there.
Perfect for you, I could be perfect for you
I might be lazy, a loner, a bit of a stoner, it’s true
But I might be perfect,
I’ll make myself perfect,
Perfect for you.
You square all the corners,
I straighten the curves.
 
NATALIE
You’ve got some nerve Henry,
And I’m just all nerves.
 
HENRY
But even if everything else turns to dirt
 
BOTH
We’ll be the one thing in this world that wont hurt.
 
HENRY
I can’t fix what’s fucked up
But one thing I know I can do
I can be perfect for you
 
NATALIE
I can be perfect for you.
 
BOTH
Perfect for you.
*This is so cheesy, I’m sorry.
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