- 2016. Well. How overwhelmingly Dickensian: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” We lost artists of music, theatre, the written word; some devastatingly profound in their ability to give voice to multiple generation’s consciences; others so ubiquitous that they were as much a part of our lives as our closest companions; some, actually both, but the realization of those losses brought to the fore an understanding of humanity that simultaneously tore out our hearts and allowed us to fully experience what we have heaped onto that wad of muscle, caged in our core as both a protection from and an indispensable component for making the lives we live tolerable. Bowie’s farewell was so terrifyingly beautiful in its unflinching assessment of mortality, stardom, and adoration that the glare of the blackstar light he has focused will take years, maybe even lifetimes, for our vision to adjust well enough to fully comprehend its meaning. Carrie Fisher was in death upstaged by her mother, Debbie Reynolds, in keeping with a theme she wrote about in “Postcards from the Edge”, but the shock and sadness of their sudden exits is mitigated by the fact that even in the incalculable they have managed a poetic narrative. Creativity demands a price but it’s rewards can be infinite.
- On the political front we have seen a candidate whose expertise at branding and marketing delivered an electorate so mesmerized by jingoistic chants as to become blind to the gravity of their meaning, but so well placed and targeted enough that he seems to have defied the Laws of Political Physics and has been elevated to the highest Office in the land with nearly 3,000,000 fewer votes than his exponentially more qualified opponents.(The only less qualified of them all being Dr.Carson.) Now as clear evidence of the misdeeds, subterfuge, lies, and meddling of foreign governments mounts, that electorate, who beat the hollow drums of a Kenyan nativity, Bengazi complicity, “lock her up!”, death panels, forced implantation of RF chips, and all manner of absurdities for more than eight years, has fallen conspicuously silent. The cacophony of the absurd, perhaps the worst: the sudden silence of those voices, perhaps the best, if only for a moment.
- Then, there’s The Bern. Such a buzz of youthful exuberance hadn’t been swarming around a candidate since Bobby Kennedy but unlike Kennedy they were shooed away by less deadly political machinations. The best: the worst.
- As for myself, I have been undergoing therapy for Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder with Major Depressive Disorder and Social Anxiety for over two years. Because of my experiences with antidepressants and their side effects (which range from the sexually frustrating inability to achieve an orgasm in bed, to the mortification of the inability to control one’s bowels in public) I had spent most of that time avoiding taking them, but in June, out of necessity, I was hospitalized and finally consented to medication. It was as if a black tarp of leaden weight had been lifted from my mind, but damn, those side effects can be a bitch! Best and worst.
- I have made a new friend of Long Term Survivors of AIDS/HIV activist Sean McKenna (# 54 on the POZ 100 list) who has inspired me in ways and to a depth he may never know but I have never actually met him in person. One of my goals in life is to make my way to NYC so that I can thank him while looking into his eyes (they’re the dreamiest!) The best of friends, the worst of separations. After living with my mother for two years, our relationship is stronger than ever despite the rocks in the road to get there but I’m moving to my own apartment and we will miss and worry about one another. The best: the worst.
The worst quote of the year was Donald Trump saying “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” because it was so obviously true, and sad.
The best quote of the year came from an old acquaintance who this year sent me a Friend Request on Facebook and the worst part is the sense of what a rewarding friendship we have missed out on over the the years. Joseph Collier-Schoonover said in all its brilliant simplicity “Sentience is precious.” It explains so much. We will protect it, at times to a degree that all manner of absurdities can become sacrosanct, lest the collapse of our Tower of Babel threaten our world view or our self-consciousness. Yet we will also care enough for it in others to a degree that at a risk of losing their love, friendship, and respect we topple their tower ourselves. The best can be the worst.
The takeaway from 2016, is that the worst can be behind us and the best yet to come so long as we put thought and reason, love and caring to the fore.
Happy day after tomorrow.