You feel it too, don’t you?
An overwhelming malaise. A general feeling of apathy, exhaustion, and an intense burnout mostly derived from the general state of everything and anything.
Everything is pretty much fucked all across the world — whether it’s politics, media, entertainment, academia, local government, or worldwide events. It’s a brutal panorama, there’s no sugarcoating it, and that’s all without factoring any and all trials and tribulations inherent to your life’s unique circumstances.
You know what’s fundamentally wrong, and while the solutions often seem logical and straightforward, it would seem like there are bigger hands at play preventing their execution, and cockblocking what needs to be done — pushing and actively steering things towards the worst possible path instead. People that are supposedly there to look out for you and the best interests of your fellow countrymen, but instead do the opposite.
The delivered entropy continues to lay waste upon you, and the malaise you feel in your head is nurtured as a result. It festers and grows through the actions (or inactions) of authorities, lockdowns, mandates, further disruptions to liberties and freedoms that were once taken from granted, censorship, endless bickering, infighting, hypocrisy, and many other burdens.
You’re constantly bombarded via a multi-pronged assault to your senses and psyche that seeks to wear you down and force you to accept the downward spiral as part of your new normal. This goes on and on day after day, week after week. There are some who would prefer to keep you in this, disrupted, demoralized, and diminished state.
Know that if you feel like this then I wholeheartedly sympathize with you, as this is what my country’s regime has been doing to us for more than twenty two years now.
My advice is: Don’t falter. Don’t give in and succumb to the despair and apathy that the higher spheres want to shove down to you. I say this, fully aware that I’m not the most educated nor the most qualified person to make statements of this nature — given how mentally burnt out and physically exhausted I’ve been feeling lately, even as I write these ramblings.
In any case, allow me to illustrate and give form to the abovementioned malaise through my personal point of view, that of a barely functional Venezuelan social outcast.
Apathy on the country
Out of my 33 years of life, 22 have been spent under the same authoritarian regime. That means two thirds of my life living under a state of perpetual political strife, where everything has worsened with each passing year.
Twenty two years of Chavismo, XXI Century Socialism, MUD (or whatever the hell they’re calling themselves nowadays), PSUV, et al. The twenty two years (and counting) of malaise have taken its toll on me and my fellow Venezuelan brethren, and the toll, my friend, has at times been too much to bear. There’s an entire generation of Venezuelans that grew up during this disaster, and they don’t know anything else besides this.
We’ve lost so much to the ongoing rule of the United Socialist party of Venezuela and the tacit collaboration of the “Opposition.” From friends, loved ones, resources, time, health, to even our collective sanity — adding COVID-19 and all of the things it wrought upon to an already convoluted nation has just made it all worse.
Venezuela is by no means ‘better’ today than how it was during the worst years of socialist-induced shortages, which began years before ‘muh sanchuns,’ neither will you find the country that much ‘worse’ today should you decide to visit it. Long lines to receive weekly rations of certain items distributed through fingerprint scanners and ID card checks was part of our normal a couple years ago. Fast forward to today, where this peculiarity no longer exists — but new ones have arisen instead.
The situation is pretty much a stagnant zero-sum, something is ‘fixed’ but then another widespread problem occurs. Instead of shortages of flour and toilet paper you now have shortages of gasoline, erstwhile empty shelves are now full, but most can’t even hope to afford the items in the first place, and so on.
Sure, I can walk a few blocks and find goods and snacks imported from the US, but good luck trying to find proper healthcare in this country. Sure, delivery services have exponentially grown largely in part due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, but good luck finding gasoline, or affording to eat from those fast food chains in the first place. Good luck finding stable and affordable internet access in Caracas, and good luck finding proper education for your children — the list goes on.
The country is stuck, unable to improve or be fixed in any meaningful capacity whatsoever. There is no real desire to fix or improve things by the powers that be of this country, as at the end of the day, perpetuating this new normal of ours is, much like in the previous status quo and in every past phase of our collapse, good business for both sides.
Everything is as corrupt as it gets, nothing works the way it should, bureaucracy and corruption go hand in hand, complicating even the simplest things such as renewing your ID card.
My vote doesn’t count anymore, and if it did, there’s no one who I’d vote for right now. There are no actors to believe in, no politicians to trust on, be it from the socialist regime or from the ‘opposition,’ which, to this day, is often erroneously branded as ‘right wing.’
Negotiations between both sides only seek to benefit themselves and not the people that they’re supposed to serve. like I said, the status quo is all good business to them while the rest of the country continues to wither away.
There are different groups of Venezuelans out there beyond the Socialist Party, the ‘Opposition,’ and their respective allies that are actively trying to build new organizations that seek to nurture a much needed change to the ongoing decadent stagnation of the country — but (and this is without me attempting to downplay or get in the way of their efforts) it’s gonna be an uphill battle, nearly impossible right now I’d say, so long as the regime and opposition keep the game locked down, just as they’ve kept it all these years.
Yet, this is what the country needs right now.
I could go on for hours and hours, but basically the point that I’m trying to reach is that all of the fuck ups and screws of both sides, and the inability to excise these parasitic politicians that keep the country’s board stuck has let to a beyond justified collective apathy — of which I’m part of. I’m beyond exhausted of this country’s overall situation and its politicians, yet, there’s nothing I can do to solve the eternal woes that plague our lives nor get rid of the perpetrators of this disaster (on both sides).
No one gives a shit about Guaido, Maduro, or any other disreputable figurehead, once again, it’s all business for them, and both sides sure have greatly filled their pockets all throughout this disaster — it’s all so hypocritical, so perverse, so nauseating.
So, what do you do with this humongous apathy when you can’t change things, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to change things in the first place? You man up, shrug it up, and keep going. Just because this stagnation begets good businesses to certain groups doesn’t mean that the collapse will stop affecting you and those around you.
We’re all shackled by the eternal crisis of this country, it just so happens that some are able to weather the storm better than others, after all, life is random, cruel, and unfair, it is what it is. Those that can raise bubbles and brute force most of the bullshit through remittances and foreign cash do so (I include myself in this group, to a certain extent). Others however, fare much worse. Not a day goes by when I don’t thank God for all the blessings and help I’ve received, because without it, I don’t know where I’d be right now.
As apathetic and uncaring you may feel, you still got a life to partake in, you still gotta deal with the daily bullshit, like my weekly water ration routines (cue dexter_shower.mp4), I still need to procure and cook food for my brother, make sure he’s safe, healthy, and all that. I still need to produce content and work on my stuff — find ways to help others, improve, and continue carrying on.
Burnout of the political
Having said all that, it’s pretty obvious that politics (and politicians) are where most (if not all) of this apathy originates from — now transformed into an intense burnout. Or at least, that’s how I interpret it through my admittedly uneducated scope.
Despite me having my own set of political beliefs (just as everyone else does) I don’t find myself interested in participating in the politics of this country — even if I wasn’t going through political burnout. While I fervently desire to one day be able to help others (be it fellow Venezuelans or people from all over the world), I very much would prefer to do so as a regular civilian.
Politics are business, that much I’ve learned over the past twenty two years of my country’s tragic history. It’s a fundamental part of how it all works, from the leftmost red, to the rightmost blue.
Venezuela’s rotten politics have affected us collectively as a nation for longer than I’ve existed. Yet, the rise of the Bolivarian revolution exacerbated this infestation, to the point that it’s torn us apart from within and changed us for the worse.
Over the past twenty two years, this perpetual and ultimately destructive climate of strife unleashed by the revolution has made us mold our language, customs, manner, and ultimately, our minds. Many have become too far gone, from the people that still cling to the dreams of the Bolivarian Revolution, picturing themselves as the heroic heroes in a fight that spans all corners of the world or simply trying to climb the ladders of the socialist party, to the ‘Doñas del Cafetal’ that still fervently think some of the MUD politicians are worthy of sainthood.
I see much of this paralleled in the online discourse of politics, especially in recent years. While yes, I very much know who I am and what I believe in, I don’t let this determine every single waking moment of my existence. I cannot fathom how some people go on with their lives engaging in a perpetual online struggle for politics every single day — too far gone and hopelessly locked in in a futile daily fight against strangers that will never have any bearing or significance in your life, engaging in petty debates whenever possible, debates that I’m grateful that I don’t have the desire nor the bandwidth to waste my time on.
There’s defending your politics and beliefs while clashing your ideals against others (sometimes reaching understanding), and then there’s the extremely online types that need to have the final word on everything, that need to remind you every five minutes of which empire they support, or yearning for utopias that will never come to pass — sometimes so deeply obsessed on the political compass to the point that they probably self flagellate if they ever so move one millimeter away from their coveted spot (and that includes some insufferable ‘enlightened’ centrists).
I simply cannot fathom how some let themselves become that far too poisoned and gone in politics, unless it’s their jobs, in which case, yeah, whatever —but if they’re doing it for >free then…
Labels and politically charged adjectives don’t mean jack shit here anymore. The ‘opposition’ in Venezuela is touted to be right wing, fascist even — but they’re all center-left at best, most of them are part of the socialist international, but none of that matters, because in order to perpetuate the eternal status quo, the regime branded them as such, and they’re more than happy to comply.
More or less what you see these days with: X is ‘racist’, Y is this, Z is that, etc.
Burned out as I am by many aspects of my life, and after going through all these years of political nonsense in my country, my advice is that you shouldn’t forsake politics altogether if that’s your thing, just don’t let it poison you until it changes you for the worse. There’s no harm in wanting to just detach yourself from all the bullshit — this is, by no means, a suggestion of capitulating and letting others carry on with impunity, so don’t get me wrong.
Please do try to seek out balance, lest you end up becoming an extremely online person who spends all of their days responding to every single thing that goes against their chosen ideology/empire.
We’re at a point where people execrate people that were once deep friends with over petty and minor political differences. I’ve seen it occur so many times now. Look, one of my best and oldest online friendships (18 years and counting) is with a guy that’s what some call a “Bernie Bro.”
Do we shittalk each other over politics? Of course we do. Do we see the world differently? Obviously. Do we let our different viewpoints get in the way of our friendship? Never.
There are artists and bands that I’ve loved for the longest time. Without saying names, I’m sure that we’d differ on certain topics, that doesn’t mean I’m gonna stop liking their music, that would be asinine.
tl;dr: Never forsake who you are and what you believe it. If you find your cause just then fight for it with all that you have, just don’t become one of them extremely online dudes.
Detaching content creation from politics
While I write and do stuff that’s clearly political by nature, I do not want everything I do to be political, because not everything should be. That is why sometimes a spicy meme is just that, a meme, a shitpost, a way for me to take the piss at something or someone without some ulterior ideological motive behind it.
We now live in an extremely politically charged climate, people too far gone into politics want everything to be political, from the culture as a whole to simple entertainment offerings. It’s sickening, tiresome, and unimaginative. That is why content creation — disconnected from politics, whichever they may be — is ever so important.
Long lasting and renowned franchises out there are being torn apart by injecting politics and ideology to it, diluting and destroying that which made them memorable and amazing in the first place. The way I see it, It’s easy to tear down and destroy something, but when the dust settles, all you’re left with is the rubbles and ashes of a once great product.
Creating something new instead of destroying, however, is much, so much more rewarding, and it is something where I find some purpose in my life. Here I am, hoping to get my own franchise rolling as soon as possible, once I’m unshackled by the limitations imposed by my country (now with all the added obstacles of the COVID-19 pandemic and a race against time with my final passport extension). I hope to finally obtain a visa soon that will pave the way for me to build a new life for myself and for my brother, and when that happens, I’ll get this rolling full steam ahead (unless I find a way to do so before that happens).
With this upcoming franchise, I don’t intend to make a political statement, I just want to make my own thing, that’s it. If you see a blue curtain on its pages it’s because I thought it’d match the décor of the room described on that particular page. Yes, some of me, my beliefs, a bit of my political ideologies, and how I perceive things do spill over the narrative, but that doesn’t mean it’s smeared all over the place — unlike me smearing copious amounts of cheese all over my spaghetti, but that’s how it should be eaten!
I’m starting to see it among my friends, acquaintances, and others, a much needed rise of new content that’s detached from the sickening infestation of politics. That is something I too hope to see in my country in the near future too, because, while some Venezuelan content had always been political in the past (comedy, for example), the overall creative spark of Venezuelan content creators has been dissipated by the once celebrated XXI Century Socialism and its Fatherland Plan.
Raison d'être and self-improvement
Back on the subject of apathy, burnout, and all that.
With the advent of abject despair and hopelessness with regards to the state of it all, I think the best course of action is to remind yourself of who and what’s important to you, that which you fight for, and that’s what you should focus on first and foremost.
We all fight for something, whether it’s someone, your nation, your people, or your ideals. I have my brother, my friends who are now my family, some cousins, and my dreams of finding my role in this world and helping others just as I’ve been helped.
That is what I cherish the most, and I’ll do anything for them. I’ll keep fighting for them and for my dreams, even if after year after year of struggles I’m nearing the end of my strength.
Self improvement is another cause worth striving for, to become the best possible version of you. But this is where I’ve stumbled upon the most in my life, this is perhaps, my biggest flaw, and the one where I need to seek help towards achieving, because I do want to get in a healthier shape, I just need proper guidance (and a little less nonsense on my life so that I can focus more on myself).
I’m not talking about physical looks, because I’m not attractive lol, I just want to be healthier, that is all.
Dreams of grilling
You have no idea how much I yearn for a simpler life. A normal life, even if I regretfully have no real reference as to what a ‘normal’ life entails and we’re all being pushed into a new normal.
The last time I had a ‘normal’ life was back when I was a child, and even then not all was glamorous, I was just blissfully blinded by the innocence and naivety of my childhood, but man, it was much peaceful that today.
Wherever I end up landing at, I won’t be carrying my burdens and regrets, nor will I start demanding that things adapt to me. My message would just simply be to not repeat the same mistakes my people did over the past two decades, nothing more, nothing less.
Easily politically impressed teenagers and young adults these days often yearn for their respective utopias, revolutions, and all that stuff. My utopia is much simpler in scope: I just want to grill. I want my brother to have a peaceful life, to find his place in this world. I want to make people smile, inspire others, and help others further their dreams.
And while doing so, I hope to find my own little spot in the grand scheme of things, along with happiness and self-acceptance, for I am, at the end of the day, my own worst enemy.
There is no shame in detaching yourself from all the bullshit and wanting to enjoy your life. I implore you to live your life to its fullest, that is something I can’t do at the moment, but hope to do so soon.
All of the bullshit going on, both in your lives, your respective country, and in the world as a whole, can and will wear you down, because it’s designed to do so. It’s nauseating, yes, but it is up to you to not let it burn you out entirely.
Yes, it’s all so miserable, but don’t be consumed by that misery.
The endless loop and the eternal bullshit of my country do take its toll, and unfortunately it’s begun to affect me and what I want to do more than I’d like to admit it, despite my best efforts in preventing it.
It’s a vicious cycle, it all wears you down and then you feel like shit, which impedes your ability to get shit done, but because you didn’t get shit done, you feel like shit even more so, which then impedes your ability to get other shit done, so you feel like shit again, which in turn impedes your ability to—
Consider all of these ramblings as maybe me talking to myself, with the hopes of renewing my waning strengths, and you know what, it worked.
Gotta keep going, I still have a future to build, and promises to keep, even though the clock is ticking for me.
Until the next one,