As some of you who follow me on Facebook may have noticed, I came close to losing my shit over the coronavirus last week. Since that time, my fury has continued to build, and I decided that I needed to figure out why. It’s taken me a bit, but I finally realized what it is.
At first, I thought it was because people are panicking over something that hasn’t even happened to them, and here I am with a real problem. Although that does slightly irk me, it’s not necessarily the main reason. After all, until you’ve weathered a storm, you have no idea your mettle. I understand this deeply–after all, I was blissfully ignorant of what serious illness is like a short three years ago. If I’m angry at anyone for that reason, it’s naive past-me, going about her life like she was never going to be called to account.
So then I wondered if the anger is directed at people’s absurd reactions. And again, that’s part of it. I mean, are you out of your damn mind? Toilet paper? It’s the flu, not bad chicken you ate last night in your takeout. You need tissues, maybe some Tylenol if you’re afraid your fever might get out of hand, and buckets of elderberry syrup. (Yes, it works against the flu.)
Yet I still understand that the reaction is very clearly, “What do I need to buy to get through an outbreak while those other people get sick and I stay holed up in my house, healthy as a horse?” We all think we’re not going to become ill–I’m looking at you again, past-me–until it happens, until it shatters us, until we find out we were woefully unprepared for the rider of the white horse to thunder into our lives. So we don’t buy the supplies that we would need if we got sick; my stars, that’s courting disaster to entertain such a thought! Instead, rather than engaging our brains to figure out what to plan for, we put our fingers in our ears and follow the other lemmings off the cliff.
Still me here. I’m still dealing with how angry I am with past-me.
Illness Scoreboards: When Did Death Turn into a Sport?
A couple weeks ago, I started getting these news article pushed to my phone every morning. “X new cases of coronavirus in Ontario!” my phone gleefully proclaims. (Kevin finally helped me turn it off last night, which involved going about five deep into an obscure settings menu on my phone. Like, seriously.)
What the Hades is going on, honestly? Who needs that information? And if you insist upon a scoreboard, where are the numbers for the AIDS epidemic in Africa? How about the antibiotic-resistant bacteria, like tuberculosis, which has made it’s way out of hospitals and into regular communities? Where do I sign up every single American and Canadian with a smart phone to be greeted every morning with the grim number of people diagnosed with cancer in the past twenty-four hours? You do know that 50% of all Westerners will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, don’t you?
So here I was finally getting somewhere.
And that’s when I realized it: I am furious–furious–about how the media is handling this. They are fear-mongering and sensationalizing, and if I had to look for a cause, it’s because someone is getting very rich off it.
But even then, eh, we all know it. My dad has preached that since I was knee high to a grasshopper.
Except in my case, the reason it’s pissing me off so much, is the exact reason I got cancer.
That’s a pretty bold claim, so let me explain.
Being Healthy Is a Full-time Occupation Nowadays
I have spent the past two and a half years pursuing health in all forms. I started with “staunching the arterial spray” by going into heavy-duty cancer treatment. Then I started exploring my mental and emotional health in the form of therapy, and spiritual health in the form of pursuing sacred writings and establishing a practice that resonates with me. Finally, since the beginning of this year, I’ve circled back to physical health and am working on cleaning up what I eat.
It has been hard work, and you want to know why? It’s because almost everything I’m learning now goes against what I was taught or what has been ingrained into me by society.
The nutritionist explained that I needed to cut certain things from my diet, and moreover, she explained why, which is why it’s easier to stick to it. Dairy products are harvested from animals whose hormones are high because their bodies were recently pregnant and are thus producing milk and eggs. Sugar suppresses the immune system, which lowers my innate ability to fight off cancer. Processed food is just full of bullshit that’s wreaking havoc in my guts, which means the immune system I have left is having to deal with that mess and dividing its attention. And plants covered in pesticides are throwing toxins at my detox organs, meaning less resources for other bodily processes. At some point, the house of cards comes tumbling down. Exhibit A: my body.
But look at all those things we should all stop consuming: dairy, sugar, processed food, pesticide-drenched plants. How easy is it to do that? NOT VERY EASY. OR CHEAP.
And that’s where it’s at for me. We live in a profit-based culture that’s molded around serving up the quickest and easiest and most stimulating fare. I used to beat myself up for not eating right this way or that way, but now I’ve realized, I’m not the one that’s broken. In order to stay healthy and minimize this cancer, I’m constantly fighting the raging river rapids of society around me, buffeting me with ads and peer pressure to just give in and eat the delicious, quick stuff, which may very well ultimately kill me… but not today, someday in the distant future, so it’s not so bad, is it? Plus everyone’s doing it, lol, what do you even eat, tree bark?
And if anyone wants to throw down with me over “corporations just give people what they want,” I’m amped up enough to engage right now. Because I do not for one second believe that we’re all just apes wearing clothing, beating our chests over having the most womens in our harem and foods in our food pile. We are fucking better than that, we don’t have to build society around animal instincts, and handing our collective power over to profit-mongerers is just another example of lemming behavior. You either believe our brains and/or souls have the capacity to transcend our physical existence, or you think we’re all just animals and then we die. And I certainly see no logical reason to treat each other like garbage, no matter which way your belief swings.
What I described is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the ways we’re poisoning ourselves. I haven’t even mentioned the mental, emotional, or spiritual aspects, and our commonly held beliefs that very much align with How To Run Yourself Into The Ground and Get Yourself Seriously Ill 101.
So what I’m trying to say is that society failed me. It failed to teach me the important things I needed to know about staying healthy. It pummeled me until I took up all these culturally acceptable bad habits. (“I might start my day with four ounces of white sugar in my over-caffeinated beverage, but at least I don’t smoke!” *nose wrinkle*) Cancer–as well as most disease–is caused by so many different factors, all converging into a perfect storm, but those factors are utterly wrong in our cultural milieu. Each item was just one straw, but at some point, there were enough straws that the camel’s back just snapped.
And so I bring us back to the coronavirus.
Yes, Our Media Overlords Can and Should Be Doing Much, Much Better
The media should not be pushing out numbers of illnesses every day. They should not be reporting about the runs on toilet paper and bottled water. They should not cackle maniacally while reporting that the WHO has declared coronavirus a global pandemic, at least without explaining what that word actually means and how other pandemics have played out.
Ah, easy to say, but what exactly should they be doing?
They should be reporting survival rates based on demographics. (Or nothing at all, to be honest, because neVER TELL ME THE ODDS.) Who cares who caught the sniffles? Since Morrigan started kindergarten, my entire household has been sick once a month. But guess what–nobody has died yet.
They should be repeating ad nauseum information on ways beyond hand washing to minimize illness: bring in experts to discuss proven ways of fighting the flu (eat a lot of garlic), herbs to consume to strengthen the immune system (ashwagandha and astragalus), and ways of murdering the little microscopic fuckers that find their way into your lungs (thyme steams).
They should have some kind of, I don’t know, color-coded system, where red means, “Don’t leave your house today even if you cut your hand off with a chainsaw and need dire medical attention,” and green means, “You’re fine, don’t worry about it, go let someone sneeze on you.”
I literally have no idea if I’m actually supposed to stop going out in public because the however-many-Ontario-cases have finally turned into zombies or if it’s cool for me to live life like everything is normal.
I mean, they could even be giving us a shopping list of actual things to buy that would be useful in case of emergency. Wouldn’t that be something?
And this is absolutely, 100% not new at all. You would have thought that we would have learned something or evolved as a society in the past one hundred years, but from how everyone is acting, we completely have not.
We’re Literally Living a Repeat of History
In the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, everyone started panicking because “healthy” middle-aged or young adults started dying, instead of the multitudes of elderly and infirm that die from the flu every year. (In the 2018-2019 flu season, 34,200 deaths in the US were attributed to the flu.) Now that we’ve analyzed what happened with modern-day tools, we found that the flu virus was just a normal mutation, like there is every year. Someone had enough foresight to bottle up little vials of the flu to be looked at when technology caught up, so when technology caught up, someone else looked at them under microscopes, and boom! Nope, it wasn’t a “supervirus,” like they thought. Instead, there were other factors, societal factors at play that made people sick.
Many people who died were malnourished factory workers. They’d moved into the city from the countryside, which meant they went from getting large amounts of vitamin D while working outside every day, to becoming vitamin D deficient while working inside all day. Furthermore, most factory workers received food as part of their stipend, but this wasn’t a nice, fresh salad from Freshii. No, this was bread and gruel and barely a vegetable in sight. Their companies were feeding them the least amount of nutrition and calories they could get away with because profits, amiritelol? So the people who were falling seriously ill were deficient in everything, including vitamins we haven’t even discovered yet, which meant their immune systems weren’t able to fight off the disease.
Another factor was aspirin. Aspirin was considered a wonder drug that had just come on the market. Got the flu? Give them aspirin! That’ll knock it out of the park! And if a little aspirin is good, more aspirin is better! So the hospitals–yes, the hospitals–were giving it to people in outrageous doses, like 5 grams.
Guess what happens when you take aspirin in that amount.
Your lungs liquefy.
So at the time, everyone thought people were dying from their lungs being liquefied by the flu… but it was actually aspirin. Society at the time thought something was good for them, and it turned out to be bad. Huh.
I’m not going to belabor this point, but I will say one more thing: Those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it. *gestures wildly around me*
Yes, I’m Angry
So. Yes. I’m angry, and it’s mostly because this is more of the same. More of the same pablum and bullshit we’ve been fed since the radio was invented. More of the same 1984 lies that are sold as a panacea to the public. “Religion: the opiate of the masses”? Not anymore. Our opiates are trending topics on Twitter, as decided last night by the Illuminati or whoever-the-fuck.
Part of me is angry at people for not lifting their heads up from the lemming herd. But an even larger part of me is angry at this culture, and I think that’s why it’s so vicious. I’m tapping into this rage that’s simmering under the surface, this fury from women and LGBTQ and the mentally ill and POC and every other shat-upon group of people, which apparently now includes cancer patients, you fuck-heads!, because we’re all so done with the lies. And it’s here, and it’s raging through me, and it is a force to behold.
Which is, in a way, a feeling I’m enjoying. Because I can feel its power, and I know that someday, it’s going to break. And while it’ll be ugly and frightening for a while, righteous fury will always–always–always win in the end.
As long as we keep away from vengeance and stay righteous.