The impolite outsider


It is impossible to face even a small portion of the daily institutionalised horrors of this world without sometimes sinking into anger and despair. Yet it is not something that is acceptable to talk too much about. I am beginning to see that allowing these feelings the space to surface and be experienced in all their unpleasant messiness is an important part of being fully human. So here is something I wrote recently and then hid away as I wasn’t quite ready to be that proud impolite outsider that I want to be.

Anger dwells deep within
It feels like I am the only one to see
the folly of this civilisation
Why Me?
Why not others?
Instead the masses blindly follow
a deathly miserable dirge.

Some glimpse the madness
yet mumble resignedly
‘this is the only way’.
What failure of imagination.

The 1%  manipulates
laws, policies and structures,
accumulating further privilege and power
While we are distracted by  manufactured fear
of the other: Communists, Refugees, Muslims, …….

Our civilisation is consuming itself.
Why is it impolite to illuminate this sickness?
Isn’t it worse that
countless species vanish in our wake,
children carry guns,
too many prematurely end their lives
or spend it numbed with drugs?

If we accept the cancer at the heart of this civilisation
then we can use our collective talents
to craft something better.

So come speak those hard truths with me.
no more socially acceptable deceit
and masks of fake positivity.
Let the rage out before it consumes you.
Use it to speak up for the silenced.
Be the difficult outsider.
Find peace in being true to yourself.


  1. Powerful writing – your anger and frustration are palpable. Socially there is a strong pressure to maintain a sense of calm civility but I too wonder when we will start noticing the sky falling in collectively. The need for ease (both emotionally and cognitively) is I think a default position for humans as this reduces energy demands on the body systems. The need I see expressed here from you (and correct me if I have this wrong) is two-fold. Firstly there is a strong need for truth-telling and clear observations of what you see in your community. But beyond that is an even more powerful need for creative collaboration which is very hard to get to if the problem is not recognised as being a problem. I found Joanna Macy’s framework in Active Hope very useful in unpacking the mess of feelings I have that resonant with what you are expressing here. We can engage in holding actions to resist destructive forces and change, we can build new ways of doing things and we can work to shift consciousness towards a ‘connected self’ that acts in ways to benefit the whole. Different feelings arise with differing unmet needs in each of these spaces and I have found it helpful to use this framing think/feel my way to more clarity both in giving myself empathy and in shining a light on responses that make more sense to me.

    1. Thanks Debbie. I need to go and reread a few books like Active Hope and Charles Eisenstein’s work. In many ways this piece was me saying what I needed to say but often feel I can’t and yes its also a yearning for a group of people to work with on creating a different way. I feel too often we are just propping up up we have. And in some cases we have too perhaps, like providing help to those denied access to basic services, but we also somehow need to find a way to create other lasting ways of doing things.

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