this is about that ugly hope that no one wants to look at

this is about that ugly hope that no one wants to look at

This is a mess, truly. Too chaotic to be an essay. Too long to be a poem. But I also had to get it out. Mostly because I am expected to be quiet. So bear with me.

I am scared a lot, I think. Some of it is normal teen anxiousness: worrying about what courses you should pick at uni and how the hell you’ll manage to finish all your assignments in time and if you were really really weird in that conversation. Most of it, however, is that bone deep fear that the whole world is going to hell. And even worse, what if nothing I do is enough to make a difference. democracy is being undermined. There is an ongoing climate crisis that is threatening the world and society as we know it. There is a genocide being committed. And the politicians keep closing their eyes to all of it. They aren’t the ones dying. When we raise our voices we are an annoyance at best and terrorist at worst (for who else would question the holiness of capitalism?).

Sometimes I just want to lie down in the forest and pretend that everything is fine. but I can’t. And so I cry instead. And then pick up to pieces to drag them into online meetings where we laugh at stupid jokes like we aren’t trying to keep the water of our future from slipping through our fingers. We laugh because we have to. And then I drag my pieces into arguments with friends. How do you even begin to convince someone that their home is worth saving when they pray at the altars of the very system that is burning it all down? No, I say, the climate crisis is not exactly good for the economy, either. have you tried to consider that?

Many people want to hear that there is hope. Fewer want to create it. Hope is not something that can passively be gained. It has to actively be made. How can you expect me to tell you there is hope if you don’t raise your voice? If you scrunch your nose at people making noise? People expect us to tell them that there is hope and no you will not die but as soon as there is hope being made and they realise it’s a loud and ugly thing they tell us keep it down, to take it somewhere else, somewhere private, so that they can keep hugging their world-destroying money tight at night when the nightmares start to creep in.

Hope is a weird word. I used to think it meant “we can make things better”. Now it just means “let me pretend that everything’s okay”.

I’m also angry. But I’m not allowed to say that because that’s a bad and ugly emotion and everything will be okay as long as no one is angry. I am angry at world leaders and CEO’s and companies for continuing to digging out the soul of our world and trading it with the devil for just another million dollars. Oh sorry did I say that I was angry? My bad, of course I realise I’m the problem here. Yes, of course, sir, I will keep it down. I’m mildly dissatisfied—is that better? Oh haha no worries at all, it’s my fault for bringing it up, really, of course I understand that this million is very important to your personal comfort and happiness. Yes, of course, by all means, if killing thousands of people and ruining all our chances at a sustainable future is the only thing that stands between you and another yacht, then who am I to suggest you act otherwise? Please, forget I ever said something

Yes. I’m angry. And I mean it. And I have every right to be. (Though sometimes I am angry just because that feels safe, just because it prevents me from going numb.) How are you not angry? What would it take for you to feel worried by it all?

For years people have been crying out to ears that will not listen. When do we pass the line where anger and loudness will be seen as an acceptable response? Never, I suspect. If your voice is a threat to the peaceful little lives they have carved out for themselves in the arms of the colonialism and capitalism and exploitation that keeps them warm, then you should die in silence.

Peace. That’s another word that has changed meaning. when I was a child it meant “no war, no people dying”. Then someone raised their voice and someone else found it uncomfortable. peace now means “quiet. undisturbed capitalism. status quo and a gratefulness that we are even allowed to exist”.

I want to believe that this is not all there is. that another world is possible. I want to have hope. And I do. But I don’t get that hope from politicians proudly telling the country about their new fantastic totally-not-Green-washed plan to save the environment that will magically solve everything without sacrifice. Hope is not in our government cutting down the forests in Sápmi and telling us that it’s okay because it will help the Green transition. Hope comes from a place of action. From seeing people who paved this path long before I even knew that it was needed. From the friends I stand alongside, that will take my hand and make me believe in a together. From everyone around the globe who are fighting teeth and nail for a brighter morning and showing me that this is not a solitary thing. Hope is in the numbers. Hope is in the collective strength of voices as it echoes through the chambers.