Some days, when I think about how vast and hopeless the world is, I get stuck. Stuck in my own brain, as I consider the huge expanse of people trembling in fear and madness. Stuck in the horrors that permeate people's psyches, lurking just below the surface in day to day life. Stuck considering the multitude of ways life conspires to fuck people over based on no sound reasoning whatsoever.
It's been a long summer, where an early spike of heat has faded away into rain and grey cloud and cool breezes on days when it's already a little cold.
It's been a summer full of death. At the individual level, celebrities seem to be dying like never before (possibly a side-effect of our aging global population and the ability of the internet to extend stars' lifespans beyond their decade of fame; funny how we only remember people when they die). We've seen James Foley executed in front of the whole world, who watched his beheading through their fingers on computer screens and smartphones. He was trying to elucidate us about the dark corners of the world; the darkness got to him.
On a larger level, we've learned so much more about the hundreds of violations going on around the world. The Gaza strip has seen fighting that's killed 2000 civilians - and over what? Two groups of people, locked up safe in boardrooms, disputing who owns some land without sparing any thoughts for the people who live there and call it their home.
We've seen spates of cops abusing the black community in the USA, from Ferguson to New York and even further. I get so angry about it - but I am white, I am privileged, I am English. I am not on the streets holding candlelit vigils for Michael Brown, and being tear-gassed for my efforts. But I wasn't there either in London, when Mark Duggan was shot in 2011. Then, the country turned on itself as anger flared up all over the nation, and we rioted across the country. In Ferguson, there are no riots. There are peaceful protests, misreported by the white media wrongly representing something calm as violent - due to the cops' reaction, which wasn't even precipitated by anything.
One and a half thousand children were sexually abused in Rotheram in an industrial, organised fashion over the course of decades, and the authorities did nothing. Too concerned with protecting themselves than the children they were supposed to be caring for.
This is the state of the world, right now. Ebola ravages Africa but we only care when a British citizen is infected. There's so much bleakness and suffering that we have to depersonalise, only view a few select groups as people and the rest as merely faceless masses - because, if we really truly considered every person who was hurting, and empathised that fiercely with every sore soul, I think our hearts would burst.
I get stuck thinking about all this - and I feel bad, because I'm happy. There's nothing I can do to help, and my impotent thoughts of action wither and die into indolence and satisfaction with my own personal status quo.
My job pays me £117 each week for three days of my time, where I mainly dick around and waste time by writing cloying, overwrought blog posts like this. My friends see me most days, a dancer cooks me dinner on a semi-regular basis, and I've managed to avoid dumping a bucket of water over my head. I've gained weight but the media's insistence that I should now experience crushing body dysmorphia hasn't materialised. My body is still my body. I'm happy.
Just like other people having it worse doesn't invalidate your own sadness - and other people having it better doesn't invalidate your own happiness - the suffering of the world doesn't seem to have much impact on my own feelings. Not today.
Summer is ending. The pain is still everywhere I look, except in my own personal bubble. Maybe this is the only way we can combat the blackness though. Maybe happiness is the most subversive thing we can project. The world is made up of awful moments of anguish and crying when nobody can hear you, but it's also beautiful. Life is harsh, but it's sharpest when in relief. Among the brutality are shining shards of joy: laughing until you collapse, cycling through hayfevery fields, hot showers and Netflix marathons and singing karaoke with strangers. Hold them close.
One day, I'll be struggling with my own demons, be they personal or systematically oppressive. I'll be holding onto past days of happiness then: in a world where death is random and impersonal, it'll come for me eventually. Be joyous. Dare to be happy. We have to find some frivolous way to beat the severity of real life.