I was working the other day, driving, and a military jet flew overhead.
Not unusual; there are a couple of military bases in the area. What was unusual was my reaction.
For the first time in my life, there was no joy or awe or pride. For the first time in my life, my emotional reaction was wariness; my subconscious interpreted the jet as a potential threat. The first thought that sprang to mind was wondering about the pilot: Was it one of the military's diversity hires up there?
Something similar happened on July 4th this year. This year, Independence Day felt farcical, felt mocking, in a way it never has before. I felt no fellowship with the people who were celebrating with heartfelt, genuine patriotism; I looked around and saw nothing of which I could be proud. I looked around and saw Southerners flying the Federal flag, I heard them playing hackneyed songs from hypocritical singers who sold out long ago to moneyed interests who subvert any authenticity in the art, and I realized that there is nothing in this hollowed out corpse of a once- great nation to justify pride except history out of living memory; the legacy our rulers are so eager (and desperate) to denigrate, that they want to stamp out entirely - and us with it.
It felt so strange. I would love to be proud of my state and my nation... but I cannot, because there is nothing except dead history of which I can be proud. My state and my nation have done nothing in my lifetime, my parents' lifetime, and arguably my grandparents' lifetime, worthy of pride. They have only ceded ground to enemies and allowed themselves to be denigrated and used.
I suppose this sense of alienation is the price of truth.
And perhaps this is a Southern rite of passage. My parents were subjected in their own day to sneers and jeers about Southerners being losers, and the Confederate flag a symbol of disgrace that those who fly it and take pride in it are too stupid to recognize as such.
As though these same people don't honor the American Indian or actual Indians or the Zulu or any other number of peoples on the losing side of a conflict for their valor in the struggle.
No, it's their forced countrymen that they take such mean-spirited entertainment in denigrating.
This has never hurt my feelings; I have no respect someone for their mocking or ill opinion to hurt, and I do not and never have particularly respected insects. No, instead such mockery only underscores how right my ancestors were.
Are these really my countrymen, these people who wish me ill? These people who mock my honored dead, who sneer at my heritage, who laugh at my accent, who expect me to kneel before them and lick boot? I'm expected to feel some sort of kinship with them, kinship under the Federal flag that my ancestors died fighting? (Or rather, my ancestors' fathers and brothers- few enough of ours made it home that I'm not sure I even have any Confederate veterans in my immediate ancestry.)
No. No, I do not feel any particular kinship with the Yankee and his nasal accent, the Midwesterner and his odd gelatinous food, much less the West Coast hippie. The South is my home, Southerners my people, and I don't much care for anything or anyone else.
When the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 made the news as I was eating my breakfast, my reaction was a calm, "Who cares, it's just a bunch of Yankees?" It horrified my mother, but this is how humanity is wired. Attempting to care about the entire world will drive you mad. We are made to care about our own- expand that circle out too far, and you will exhaust yourself. Compassion fatigue is not limited to first responders.
We were never meant to care about the great mass of humanity, and convincing people that they were is one of the greatest disservices, one of the greatest "crimes against humanity," that has ever been perpetuated.
Yankees are not my people. Midwesterners are not my people. West Coasters are not my people. The Federal flag is not my flag. I may adopt those immigrants who themselves adopt the South, love her, and assimilate into my circle; I may choose to call worthy Yankees or Midwesterners my brothers; but at the end of the day the South is my home, and Southerners my people. Names on tombstones in the local graveyards mean more to me now than the creatures dwelling in DC or rioting in Portland or [finally formally and openly] usurping the First Amendment in Maine.
The older I get the more things I realize my grandparents were right about. And so the Federal government can go hang. I will honor my ancestors by living well, and doing my best to prove worthy of the name and heritage to which I was born.
No matter where I live, I will have a garden (no matter how small or ragged), as my parents and grandparents and great grandparents did. I will cook real food, as my mother and grandmother and great grandmothers did. I will strive to be thrifty, as they were; now that I have finally found my style, I will dress as well as my grandmothers did; I will keep a robust sense of humor like my great grandfather, and I will be as bullheaded and irascible as any of them when I see fit, and without their alcoholism to grease those gears.
I'm done calling myself an American. I'm a Southerner, and dammit, I'm gonna live like one.
I've never heard Miley Cyrus' "Flowers" all the way through, but I have heard the chorus; and beyond the saccharine insipidity of the music itself, the lyrics bothered me enough for me to think about why, and to look up the lyrics for the entire song.
They reek of cope, as the kids might say, but more than that what bothers me are the larger implications of this tripe being held up as a feminine empowerment anthem.
The song is clearly about her ex-husband. The notes under the lyrics on the site I used state that Cyrus released it on his birthday. Writing songs about an ex and being petty about it isn't anything unusual for a singer, and writing bad songs certainly isn't unusual for the shills who put a face to the radio propaganda that currently passes for pop music. What bothers me so much about this song are the larger implications I see in it.
There are only a few lines about her sorrow over the end of the relationship; most of the song focuses on her and her ability to take care of herself.
But Miley, that was never the point.
Marriage is supposed to be different, supposed to be distinctive among your relationships. Divorce isn't like- or isn't supposed to be like- you and your boyfriend deciding to go your separate ways. Divorce is the death of a home, the future you might have had together, what the two of you could have built together if you could've worked things out. Divorce is the death of the family you might have had.
It's something worthy of grief. That heartbreak is worth more than a couple of throwaway lines in the middle of a bunch of feminist talking points parroted to make you feel better about your life, your breakup, and yourself.
As an old maid who had always assumed I'd be a housewife and mother, who assumed that that life would just fall into my lap as it did for my mother and friends and forebears, let me tell you: that is a dangerous assumption. You can't count on finding a soulmate. You can't just assume you'll fall in love.
I'm not saying marriage or a romantic relationship is the end- all be- all of a woman's life. If I were willing to raise a child on my own, I could find a man to use to conceive one with little trouble. If I were willing to be in a romantic relationship just for its own sake, I could have a boyfriend probably within a week, even at my age.
But I've seen what true love looks like. I have seen what good, stable marriages look like. I am not willing to settle for anything less.
That kind of love, commitment, and devotion should not be taken lightly. The good marriages, the ones that last a lifetime, the ones that bring out the best in both spouses- that's arguably the pinnacle of human experience.
The lyrics of "Flowers" are as much an insult to someone who values what romantic love and marriage should be as the "music" is to the ears.
I will most likely spend my life alone and die unmarried and childless. This is something I've had to come to terms with; I would've been a good wife and a good mother. The loss of that life, of who I could have been, is worthy of grief even if I don't regret it.
Sure, I can buy myself flowers. I can take myself to the beach, or the woods. I'm strong enough to stand on my own, to build a lovely home and a good life for myself. Even without romance, I have family and I am well loved.
But that strength has been won at the cost of loneliness. I am no one's priority. I have no children to take care of me in my old age; I'll have to figure that out on my own, and the fact that I would rather be dead than dependent is as much a necessity as it is a preference.
Part of the reason I despise feminism so much and hate the girl-boss trope is because I am both the target demographic and an easily- misinterpreted example. I knew better, in my twenties, than to believe the feminist propaganda, but so many girls don't. I knew, in my twenties, how fleeting my fertility was, how quickly that clock was running down. Most young women don't.
Even in my twenties, I knew the value of men. Most girls don't, because they are now taught not to.
And this, really, is the heart of my problem with "Flowers." Even if you don't need romance to build a good, fulfilling, successful life (I haven't), the value of it deserves to be acknowledged.
Spinsterhood is not some great victory, Miley.
"I don't want to be a lady!" I shrieked in my father's face, and at the time I meant it.
My idea of a "lady" looked mostly like my grandmothers, and none more than Grandmama.
Grandmama, with her iron self control. Grandmama, the one adult whom I never, ever dared try. Grandmama, from whom I never heard the words, "I love you," to me or anyone else, even as a response when someone else said it first. Grandmama, who I can't remember ever laughing, though I know she must have.
I still don't want to be a lady like that.
But what I failed to realize as an angry teenager was that there is not just one way to be a lady. Grandmama's borderline inhuman self control and impeccable manners are inarguably ladylike - so long as the ones arguing can agree on terms rooted in reality - but Grandmama was not the be- all and end- all of what a lady is.
After all, I had other grandmothers; and as much as Grandmama was a Grand Dame of the South, so too were Granny and Mimi.
And weren't Granny's gentleness and faith ladylike? Weren't Mimi's beauty and charm ladylike?
I came to realize that the key was to gracefully accept and emulate the best of my grandmothers, and to improve upon and surpass their flaws - just like any other part of my heritage.
To use beauty and charm as valuable tools, as my Mimi did - but without relying on them as a crutch. To know how to be gentle, and to pray in times of trouble as Granny did - but without the years of abuse it took her to get there. To know the value of manners as Grandmama did- but to know when to put their shield aside and be vulnerable, as I never, ever saw her do. That's the kind of lady I try to be.
And it's paid off.
Though I work in a male-dominated field, I've never seen the rampant misogyny about which the feminists love to shriek. And while I have encountered misogyny, it was never from the men from whom I was told to expect it. The most workplace misogyny I ever saw or experienced was from a gay man working in a grocery store bakery.
In almost two decades of retail and blue collar working experience, and in a lifetime of interacting with others, I have found that nothing earns a woman more respect and goodwill than when she acts like a lady.
So what do I mean by that?
Not sleeping around, for one. (At first I thought it was just the place where I was working, but now I think it's that people are Just That Way, at least post 1960s "sexual revolution"). I've had a few friends and acquaintances who are undeniably sluts, no matter whether you consider that a pejorative or not - women who either engaged in casual sex or bedded men not married to them. I don't know that any of them fully realize how much respect they lost from others by their conduct.
Is it really so difficult to keep your legs closed?
And then there are women - too many of whom are handed a microphone - who deny biological reality - women who insist that they are the same as men, women who venerate the word "equality" and pervert its meaning at every opportunity. It is prudent to avoid these women as the threats they are, but it's horrifically amazing to see the sheer hubris of a woman who can fail physical ability tests again and again, then insist that standards be lowered, and then to refuse to admit that she wants the standards lowered because she wants a title she hasn't earned!
But then, why wouldn't she, when she's been told all her life that Girls Rule, that she's Special, that she can do and be whatever she wants? What chance do biology and reality stand against a lifetime of ideological coaching and the looming shadow of every single societal institution?
She may find it reassuring that she can steal the title, but it won't earn her the respect of the men with whom she works. If she ever gains the least scintilla of humility and wants to earn their respect, the only way for her to do so is through admitting her fault, years of hard work, staying quiet unless and until she has something of actual value to contribute, and helping others without any expectation or demand of recompense.
In other words, the opposite of what got her there in the first place.
Seeing how many of them there are and the lofty heights to which they can climb in any organization they infest (largely in administrative roles, you'll note), it's easy to get discouraged. An ambitious woman who happens to have integrity and self respect might be forgiven for considering adopting their methods and rationalizing using those tactics by telling herself that she's just playing the game to win.
My dear, it's not worth it.
The women who sleep their way to the top, or those who get there by backstabbing, stealing credit, lying, or plying whatever diversity cards they hold - unless they're psychopaths - they're miserable. These are the ones who make up those statistics about SSRI use and depression, and who make up the stereotype about Millennial spinsters or divorcees and their cats and box wine.
They're hollowed-out husks of people, with shallow, screaming eyes when you look closely (and you won't be able to look closely for long; there's something uncanny about them). They're pathetic creatures, and there's somewhere between little and nothing in them worth emulating.
But when a woman carries herself with self respect; when she's polite, hardworking, and sincere; when she honestly acknowledges both her strengths and her faults, and takes them into account; when she thanks those who offer her help in the same spirit in which it was offered, even when she didn't need it; when she refrains from gossip, especially malicious gossip; when she does her best to take care of those around her even when she doesn't particularly like them; all of these things are ladylike, and every single one of them earns respect.
And while it may be difficult, every single one of them is achievable even in toxic work environments. Sometimes it means keeping your head down and your mouth shut; sometimes it means using knowledge strategically; most often it means knowing when to leave. (The time to leave, by the by, is always before you're trapped or tricked into doing something unethical or illegal- because if you let them maneuver you into that, you're seating yourself under a sword of Damocles.)
Wisdom and good judgment are also ladylike.
A woman is an adult human female; being a woman is not an accomplishment, since all it takes is being born that way. But to be a lady is to choose to be a good woman, to be the best woman that you can. Continually making that choice is worthy of respect.
Turns out I'd rather be a lady after all.
It's hard not to get blackpilled.
Seemingly anywhere you look, Rome is burning. The cost of living only seems to go up, savings keep going down, our rulers' hatred of us is ever more apparent, and there's at least a year and a half more of this before there's a reasonable hope of even marginal improvement.
It's hard not to get blackpilled, but you shouldn't.
I know. It's not that easy, right? It takes far more effort to leave a rut than to fall into one, and most of the time you need a helping hand up.
Well, here's mine.
The best way I've found to address anxiety or fear around a problem is to do something about it. So I can't destroy the Fed (or the universities, or the bureaucracy, or the mainstream media, or mainstream social media, or any number of other evils). So I can't revoke the 16th, 17th, or 19th Amendments. So I'm not rich. So what?
I can start a garden. I can cook and clean. I can plan projects to make my home better insulated and prettier. I might need to rethink some of the organization of it, too, to make it more functional.
I can take care of this kitten that wandered up to my little sister's house (and that she subsequently decided needed to be my problem, since I committed the great sin of petting him). I can look for a better home for him, one without a middle aged cat who keeps hissing at him for no better reason than him existing in her space, and enjoy his company in the meantime.
(That's another great method of combating stress, by the way; pet a friendly, furry animal. No creature on this earth will ever or could ever love you the way a dog does, and a purring cat is one of life's great joys.)
I can ask my friend who knows how to sew to teach me what she can. I can help those neighbors and coworkers who are worthy, and my friends, and my family, as best I can. I can make a habit of improving things around me, to the point that when I walk in people who know me see my face, breathe a sigh of relief, and say," Oh, thank God, she's here."
That choice - that continuous, small choice to do what you can to make things better around you - has an outsized impact. A friend was once giving me a ride and we wound up in a traffic jam on the Interstate. She hadn't gotten gas when she should have, so we had to turn off the car- there on the road, fully in the sweltering Florida summer sun.
She was apologetic. It would've been easier to be mad- but instead I chose to smile at her, thanked her for giving me a ride, and we picked wildflowers off the side of the road.
She brought it up years later; what could have been a bad memory instead was a good one, and all it took was a small choice - a deliberate framing of the situation on my part - to redeem it.
And it is this, more than anything else, that we can do to make things better. Your reach is limited. That's fine! You'll do the most good for the people you love most by bettering yourself and improving things around you. So what if that's small? Everything is, if you zoom out enough. The very galaxy this planet is in is small compared to the vastness of space. That doesn't mean it doesn't matter.
The size of the things you can do matter less than the fact that you do them. The limit of your reach matters less than how you use it. The impact of your choices- the full extent of which it is humanly impossible to know- do matter, and they'll matter the most to the people closest to you.
Maybe it sounds trite. Maybe it seems insipid. I don't much care, because I've lived long enough and seen enough to know that I am not wrong when I tell you: there are many things you can't change, but one thing you can change is yourself. You can continually choose to be a better person.
I could start this off with some prescient quote from one of the Founders, or perhaps Orwell. But we all see the world burning; only the most addled partisans have deluded themselves so thoroughly as to imagine that things are going well, even if there are as many different ideas about what's to be done about it on a macro scale as there are keyboard warriors and academics.
Things aren't going well, but then, they haven't been going well for years no matter who's doing the counting, or where exactly they start. I come to you with a warning: things will only get worse long term, so we should all prepare for that and become as self sufficient as we can. We are not helpless; having shared my alarm, please let me also share some of the lessons I've learned in the years since the last recession.
The most important is not to trust any societal institution. I already knew not to trust the government; I deleted my mainstream social media accounts in 2017, disgusted with the amount of [actual] misinformation I saw there and even more with how many people I saw falling for it; 2020 finished off any modicum of respect I had for any and every hall of power, and most white collar professions.
Now ESG requirements and hiring practices deliberately and proudly opposed to meritocracy are filtering down to the blue collar jobs, their onerous regulations and Computer-Based Trainings imposed upon the working class.
Please think for a moment about how many jobs require technical competence.
Think about what happens when airline pilots, architects, doctors, lawyers, or accountants are hired not for their competence, but for the color of their skin or their stated gender at the time of their interview. Think about what happens when diesel engine mechanics, commercial scale HVAC technicians, sewage treatment plant workers, paramedics, electricians, or bridge inspectors are not hired based on competence.
Think about the effect on those people who are competent when they see less skilled people being favored.
The comfortable, easy First World the Boomers lived in is dying with them. The rest of us are going to be left to grapple with rotted out institutions and the creatures who run them out to parasitize the rest of us; with infrastructure that is falling apart, without the resources or skilled labor to repair and maintain it; with the effects of an over-processed food supply and a populace dependent on all manner of medications; with a populace who have been bred and trained to be fat, stupid, weak, and dependent.
To acknowledge this isn't black-pilling. Realism is not pessimism. Our rulers have sold us down the river for so long that all the safe landing points are behind us. So be it. Weak men create hard times, but hard times create strong men. We're in for hard times and hellfire. Let it be a forge.
We do this by using the time we have left to get ready. We do this by preparing equipment, skills, and ourselves.
First and foremost, avail yourself of your own knowledge. Think of where you are and who is around you. This is one way in which Covid was a blessing; anyone who took the jab, whether through deception or duress, can't be counted on to hold the line. Anyone who continues to swallow the narrative on Covid is a regime apparatchik and will be a threat when trouble comes.
Which isn't to say that you should be mean to them. I only mean to say that in every single interaction with such a person, you should bear in mind exactly what they are. Be on guard around such a person, or be betrayed.
Know who's around you. Which of your neighbors would ask you for food if they were hungry and desperate, and which would try to simply take it? Who around you has practical skills and would be open to bartering? Perhaps most importantly, who around you has children, and what are they being taught? "Children are the future" may be a trite saying, but it ain't wrong.
Children coming up now are going to be subject to as much or more indoctrination, propaganda, and pressure than any previous generation of Americans. Teach them to navigate it. Teach them to think for themselves, and how to guard against those who can't or won't.
Build dissident libraries of physical books, CDs, and DVDs from which to teach them, and that they can inherit if they are worthy. Build libraries of politically incorrect works, of cultural heritage works, of references for practical skills, of genuinely entertaining and inspiring and funny things.
Build libraries of arms and ammunition. Build libraries of seeds. Build libraries of all the knowledge and beauty the wretched creatures ruling over us are working so hard to deprive us of or destroy.
Teach those children, and yourselves, about where you live. What natural disasters are most likely to strike, and how do you prepare for them? Where is the water in your area? Where is the nearest city and its largest suburbs? What is the population there and in your area, and in desperate times, whence will come the most likely threats? Go for walks and learn the local terrain. Think about how it affects you, and will affect you in various circumstances. Have a physical copy of a map of your city or county or state, whatever you can get.
Know how you're going to take care of basic necessities when the lights go out. Where will you find water? How will you dispose of sewage? How will you cook and bathe? Do you keep a full pantry and freezer? Do you follow the First In First Out rule in your pantry, as grocery stores do for what's on their shelves? Are your emergency stores things that you and your family will actually eat, and things that you eat on a regular enough basis that they won't upset your stomach? Do you have herbs and seasonings on hand to add enough variety to your food so that you don't get sick of it?
Do you have ways to keep warm or cool, depending on the season? Do you have a med kit with common medications that are in date? Do you know where it is? Do you know CPR and basic first aid?
These questions can be overwhelming, I know, especially if you've never really thought about it before. But they are questions that need to be answered, and you need to be prepared; this postwar interim of ease and comfort is an anomaly, and one that is on its way out. Our rulers are already making things harder on the population, putting pressure on us so they may usher us into a sort of neofeudalism in which we will own nothing. They will tell us that we are happy, and anyone who says otherwise will have their lives destroyed. We're seeing the first waves of this already.
Even if the ruling class weren't deliberately making things worse, we would already be headed for a crash. We have allowed too many cans to be kicked down the road for far too long for there not to be consequences.
And so I implore you: get ready.
Learn to garden. Learn to cook, to can, to compost, to sew, to do basic home and vehicle repair and maintenance. Exercise, even if it's just taking walks around your neighborhood or doing stretches. Learn a little every day. Do a little more every day.
Make yourself a little bit stronger and a little bit better, every single day.
You will make mistakes. You will fail sometimes - growth is not strictly linear. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again.
We are the ones who build.