Can we just take a moment to freak out about how, when we were kids, seven or eight or something like that, our schoolteachers or the news or our mothers explained Social Security to us and we formed a small working knowledge of how America would help us take care of ourselves, a feeling of security because we would work hard and contribute a bit of our earnings every time we got a paycheck and in turn, we’d have a little something — nothing insane, mind you, but a little something — coming our way when we grew too old to work and now we’re expected to just roll over and accept that we’ve been paying into a system that will go bankrupt by 2037, a system that gives 12.4 percent of our paychecks to people who invested just 6.5 percent of their own, a system we fuel without hope that we’ll reap its benefits? Does that warrant freaking out?
There are men in suits and men in overalls who devote their livelihoods to having a say over what goes in and out of a woman’s body. Have that baby, take this dick, don’t take those pills, there’s always adoption, a fetus is a real human being with rights [like the right to be told what she can and can’t do with her body once she becomes a woman]. And they might get away with it, too, because some women are scared of feminism, ‘don’t relate to it,’ enjoy their nail polish and their razors and their bras; they’re scared of feminism because other women told them they’re doing it wrong, they’re a tool of the patriarchy, they only like those things because a man said to like ’em… I mean, we may have our differences, ladies, but can we just agree on one thing? When there are policies that treat our uteruses like foreclosed homes and our bodies like prisons, alienating each other for not being lady enough or feminist enough only makes it harder to remember who the real enemy is. Let’s just take a moment to freak out over how often we forget that.
A freaky thought is we will watch every celebrity that defined our childhoods, die — it’s already begun. Whitney Houston is dead. Michael Jackson is dead. Brittany Murphy is dead. Patrick Swayze is dead. When we are much, much older, a new world will exist where all of our cultural reference points have been replaced by people who haven’t been born yet. Those people will create the music that plays, they will grace the magazine covers, they will donate their bloated salaries to charity and take photographs with bald children in hospital wards and we will sit on the sidelines and watch it happen, or not. A new world will exist and we won’t be expected to adjust, just to stay quiet and lost in our pasts until we die like we’re supposed to. A freaky thought is our parents have already watched most of their childhood idols die. A freaky thought is our grandparents are living in that new world already, this one just happens to belong to us.
While we’re at it, let’s freak out about love — wanting it, finding it, keeping it, believing in it, staying in it, recognizing it, holding it tighter than we’re supposed to. How do we get what we want — monogamy, a family, a fulfilling life with rotating partners, freedom, security — when we don’t know what we want in the first place? I mean, how long have we really known ourselves, anyway? Twenty years? Thirty? That’s a third of a lifetime, at best, how are we supposed to know ourselves with all of that sprawling and unmarked road stretched out before us? How are we supposed to trust our desires when we’ve hardly had time to get to know ourselves? How do we figure out what’s important?
Let’s just take a minute, right now, to freak out because the rest of the time we’re supposed to stay quiet; the rest of the time we’re reminded that we’re not starving children in Africa as if there aren’t enough starving children in America to compare us to; the rest of the time we have to qualify everything with I know it could be worse and I’m really lucky but… The rest of the time it’s our peers — whose Social Security will dry up before they touch it and whose reproductive systems are at risk for becoming government property and who will, someday, lose everything they’ve ever loved, if they even make it that far — screaming at each other to stop freaking out and check your privilege. Let’s freak out real quick because our own generation is willing to point in at itself and call an underemployed 21-year-old with $100,000 of student loan debt and no idea how they’ll afford retirement ‘privileged’ because they’re a male or they’re white or they’re American or they have internet access. Let’s freak out because the term ‘underprivileged’ indicates there is no middle ground, you’re either privileged or you’re not, and isn’t it convenient to generalize people as one thing or another? Isn’t it freaky how we spend our energy judging each other for feeling fucked rather than questioning a system that actively enslaves our generation under the guise of education?
Let’s just take a moment to freak out.
Now get back to work.