This Punitive Society

I want to be on the stand and say to them: What did she do? What did she do wrong? She chose the wrong men, and for this you want to punish her, as our society punishes women who let men abuse them, as if it was a choice. We forgive the wrongdoer and attack the victim, because we hate victims, even as we are victims. You should have known better! You should have made a better choice! Your choice was wrong, and we as judges, juries, and executioners know this! You should not have made these mistakes and for this, we judge you. For this, we sentence you and punish you for your sins, for your flaws. You were a good mother, but that is not good enough because you never would have been a mother if you had not chosen men who would abuse you. Of course, this line of reasoning falls apart because she could very well have been a mother if she had not chosen these men. But of course she would not have these children. These children will be harmed because of her choices. These children will be harmed too because of their abusive fathers, but we don’t hold the fathers accountable, only the mothers. These abusive men didn’t know any better, but she did. She knew and she chose wrong and for this, she shall pay with their loss. Their pains are her pains. She will suffer for her sins and so will they.

This society is so fucking fucked and fucked up. I can hardly bear it. We are so punitive, so judgmental, so holier-than-thou, such critics.  Critics. We all sit and judge. Our whole culture. We love to annihilate victims for having been victims. In doing so we can ignore the victims in ourselves. We get to be the rescuer in our judiciousness. I will save you from your victimhood, you fool.

It all just makes me want to scream.


If there are no extra pieces in the universe, there must be a place for me somewhere. I just haven’t found it yet. Maybe I never will. My optimism is flagging. I feel isolated and friendless. Oh, I have several people whom I consider friends, people I can call now and then, or with whom I can go to lunch or coffee, but I have no friends who really get me and want me. Except for one, I lack any true, deep, honest friendships. My one friend is often so buried in her own dismay at the state of the world that I feel unwilling to burden her with my own clouds.

I’m immersed in a cloud. I’ve always been the sort of person who loves learning. I loved school. I was energized by it. Today I was looking through the Coursera offerings and could not find even one class out of thousands that interested me. None of it. There is a little cloud surrounding me that depletes my interest in anything.

I hate the business of my work. If all I had to do was serve my clients, I wouldn’t mind it so much. I like helping them. But I have to bring in business and think about and worry about and concern myself with all those little parts of getting business, and the thought of it makes me physically ill. I can’t sleep with it. I’ll lose this cloud in the sunlight of my daughter’s smile or the actual sun shining in the sky, and the cloud will catch me again, unaware. Oh, it says. You stopped thinking about marketing and now you suddenly did! And the feeling of nausea overwhelms me. The cloud descends. My stomach tightens. I feel trapped. I can’t escape it. It is misery and I have worn myself thin trying to come up with alternatives and cannot do it. There are no alternatives except perhaps homelessness, which is no alternative when one has children. I have to bring in money to pay for food and a roof over our heads. No one will hire me. I’ve tried and tried and tried until I’m blue in the face to find alternate employment to no avail. No wonder the long-term jobless feel flattened. It is demoralizing to try and try and try and never succeed. You start to wonder what is the point and this wondering leaks over into everything else you do, including enjoying learning, enjoying anything.

Plod, plod, plod. This is what my life is. It is what it has been for so long, I can no longer envision an alternative. Every attempt at an alternative has been a failure. I no longer even want to try. This is my cloud.