By Wes Annac, Openhearted Rebellion
I’m at a point in my life where I’m trying to make a lot of lifestyle changes at once. My personal growth has been stagnated in the past couple of years, and by the end of 2020, I realized I had hit a wall. I was going nowhere, and it was time to make some changes.
Now, I intend for 2021 to be the year I get some of the most important aspects of my life in order.
I’ve gotten serious about exercising, as my lack of physical activity was driving my not-so-great mental state. The more I sat around at home, the worse I would feel. By contrast, I noticed a significant change in my mood when I would get up and run or engage in some other difficult exercise. It would eliminate my anxiety, brighten my outlook significantly, and generally make life a lot easier to deal with.
Here at home, I’m making sure to get up from the couch and be active more often. It’s easy to be in workout mode at the gym, but I don’t tend to carry that same enthusiasm over to my home life. There’s too much temptation to sit and relax in front of the television, but like many people have said: nothing good happens on the couch.
This is especially true for someone trying to maintain two jobs, one of which requires significantly more time and effort. I’ve started writing more frequently and connecting not just with my readers, but with many friends (old and new) who share my interests and, in some cases, my political views.
While I’m trying to make all these dramatic changes, I’m disheartened by what is happening in the world. Some days, the chaos unfolding here in the U.S. makes me think any attempts at writing about the need for empathy are futile. Some days, I just don’t want to put my voice out there in a time when disinformation, extreme prejudice, and inflammatory language have become the norm.
Sometimes, I get too depressed thinking about my country, the online community I’m a part of, and the world at large to find the motivation to write or do anything at all. We all have pessimistic thoughts, and with everything going on right now, sometimes my thoughts get the best of me.
I hate to go against friends who have boarded the Trump/Q-Anon train and to lose those friends as a result.
I have thick enough skin that I can handle being criticized or insulted for thinking an insurrectionist president will not lead the world into a new age of love and unity.
What hurts is that I’ve lost so many friends who’ve dedicated their lives to a hateful, deceitful individual and a coordinated disinformation campaign that has basically evolved into an online cult. It is especially troubling that the Q cult has blended patriotic sentiments with the new age to create some Frankenstein’s monster of wildly unbelievable lies passed off as facts.
As someone who supports the idea of peaceful revolution, it hurt to see the Capitol stormed by extremist bigots and people who’ve been duped into supporting the Q cult. As someone who believes in truth and accountability, it was rough to see the riot blamed on anyone other than who perpetrated it: supporters of Trump and Q-Anon who were worked into a frenzy and prepped for a bloody revolution.
I get no joy from arguing with my friends. But I have to say something when my community that was supposed to stand for love, free-thinking, and rebellion against authority instead supports a politician who is actively fomenting the violence and bigotry I stand against.
I have no choice; I need to let go of those people and continue to openly criticize the insane ideas they believe to be true. Those ideas are largely responsible for the violence we’ve seen lately. Letting go of those relationships is necessary, as is speaking out against any group built on a foundation of disinformation and hate. As civil rights hero Anne Braden once said, albeit in a different context, “it is a very painful process but it is not destructive”.
Some days, it all gets overwhelming and I want to hide away. But I’m not going to quit. I’m going to keep writing and trying to be a voice for people who are interested in spirituality but dismayed by what they see in the new age community.
Far from the pro-Trump riots we’ve seen and could continue to see, I intend to help inspire an openhearted rebellion against a power structure that exists to serve the mega-rich through the exploitation of the poor. I have no shortage of self-serving politicians to call out and plenty to say about the clear need for compassion.
We have a new president and vice president coming in who are corrupt in many ways and should be held accountable for what they’ve done in the past. With that said, it’s clear that I need to stick around and offer one more perspective on politics. Funnily enough, that’s one topic I never really wanted to get into. But here we are.
I won’t give in, and I hope you won’t either. After such an awful start to this decade, I hope more of us can find our voice and start using it. We need more creative expression. We need people to stand up for what’s right. We need empathy, accountability, justice, and unity. If we don’t stand up for all this now, then the demons will win.
Similarly, my demons will win if I don’t change the direction in which my life has been headed. That’s why I’m trying to make all these big personal changes, but right now, I’m still at the start of this journey looking forward to what could be. Some days are easier than others, but despite everything, I remain cautiously optimistic.
New online communities have formed which subvert the compromised new age movement. I’m happy to consider myself a part of the conversations in those communities. If any of my Q-loving friends finally see the light, I’ll welcome them with open arms and an acknowledgment that we are all human and capable of being deceived by awful politicians.
In the meantime, let’s brace ourselves for what the next couple of weeks have in store. Sadly, things might get messier here in America. With white supremacist hate groups more empowered than ever, I fear we’ll see more violence and more excuses from the pro-Trump crowd. I sincerely hope that in time, supporters of Trump and Q-Anon will realize just how wrong they have been. I guess we’ll see.