Dear Outrage, I am breaking up with you

Dear Outrage, 

I’m breaking up with You. 

You were good for me. When we first met, it felt good to stand for justice to stand against racism, political corruption, stand up for refugees, immigrants and vulnerable children. It felt good to have new outrage friends online. Yes. The outrage was good. Some of it was even supernaturally ordained. I vow to keep speaking out when called upon. Thanks for helping me find my voice - I didn’t bury my anger, I spoke up. 

You were there for me the whole time, bringing me coffee while I watched the morning news, listening for the latest about mean and bad people. I started every day with a fresh batch of outrage. Delicious. You gently combed my hair as I checked Twitter outrage hashtags to react. Every day was something new - and you encouraged my angry reactions. Before long, my whole life was a reaction. I tweeted and stewed, "Boo! Boo! BOO! How dare you?" #HashtagJustice 

Someone said media steers outrage conversations for money. Hmm. Publicly-traded companies creating manufactured drama for impressions, impressions then sold to advertisers. Outrage for earnings per share? Am I getting played? Maybe. But I don't really think about that. Just keep red-faced screaming. That young athlete who said something bad ten years ago on Twitter? BURN HIM. That politician or religious leader who made a mistake? SHACKLE HIM UP AND STONE HIM. The actress who said something un-PC? TAR AND FEATHER HER. Thank Jesus I’m not like THOSE baddies, like Politician X, the Russians, Hackers or Yankee Fans. Thank God I'm not like other men.

It didn’t take long before you started to consume me. You convinced me you would change everything, and my joining the outrage chorus would change things, make the world better, make me righteous, or self-righteous, or at least better than the baddies. 

You PROMISED THAT outrage would change the world, but I didn’t KNOW it would change me. 

That’s why I’m breaking up with you - I am becoming you. You are all I talk about. You are all I think about. Last night, I stayed up until 3am scrolling for someone else to hate. I’m an outrage junkie. You give me a rush and shakes and bloodshot eyes. My whole life feels bloodshot. And my angry words have worked themselves inward, I carry anger and hate in my heart. I started all this trying to do good. But now I need to change the subject. I need to let go of these toxins. I need to stop listening to you. Turn off my screens. Disconnect. Detox.

I’m not sure what I’ll say or listen to now. Maybe I’ll try good things. When hard times come, I will “find the helpers” like Mr. Rodgers said. I like him. Wish he was still around. I’ll keep speaking out but outrage won’t be my identity anymore. I’m not sure what I will listen to. Maybe I’ll try music. I used to love music. Maybe I’ll read a good book or two. Maybe nature has something to say to me.

But now, I’m moving on, thanks again for everything. Your friend,

John