On losing hope

Michele Bigley
5 min readJul 19, 2022

How pessimism might serve us

I hit my edge after Supreme Court zealots upended women’s rights, the EPA’s power, the separation of church and state, and made people’s desire to carry a weapon more important than our children’s safety. As the world tilted away from sanity, obscuring what I understand as just, moral, correct, the waters of grief began to submerge me.

Underwater, I swam through shock, anger, sadness, horror. My intellect could not be reached through the emotional response I could not tame. I wished to be more pragmatic, like my husband Eddie, who reminded me that we are in California, that everything is fine for us now. Fine. A word that doesn’t make sense to my American sensibility. A word that we’d never accept as a compliment (“You look fine.”) or for a dinner party (“Everything tastes fine.”). Fine was not acceptable. Fine, I knew, was a temporary state.

I’d been fine. And now I wasn’t. Should I dull my angst? Curb my rage? Mask my sadness? Rationalize the darkness away? Find intellectual routes to feel better?

On some level, I didn’t want to feel better. Feeling better, feeling okay, feeling content, or safe was what got us here. So I let myself feel the violation, the weight of the reality that all that had been worked for was now being systematically stripped away.

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Michele Bigley

Award-winning writer specializing in regenerative travel, environmental solutions and parenting. Michele’s writing a book about mothering in the Anthropocene.