Posts Tagged ‘civil unrest’

To put it frankly and in my signature vernacular: things are fucked.

Around this mark in the calendar each year I tend to fall into a depression sink hole, even in this best of years, and this is far from the best of years. I don’t know if it is the transition from hated summer into welcomed fall or some repressed trauma milestone, yet it arrives as regularly as the seasons themselves. The bald patches where my hair has abandoned my head for the first time since I was 17 testifies to what is being internalized below my scalp. I definitely find myself in brief moments rapt in the siren song that 2020 is the end of the world.

However, I do (logically) know better. Despite how good the memes are, there is nothing supernatural or maybe ultimately even that exceptional about the year 2020. This is not the world’s first novel virus or pandemic. Climate change didn’t start in 2020. Governments aren’t suddenly corrupt. Racial injustice didn’t begin when cellphones captured it and social media made it go viral. The well of human atrocities is deep and chronologically expansive. And I doubt when humans decide to start saying “2021”, the world and all its events (or the consequences for our own stupidity and selfishness) will decide to yield.

Though, illusory correlation or not, it does feel like 2020 is a convergence of many of these things, a culmination of numerous building unsavory aspects of our reality. And personally, the macro level has been paired with upheaval and chaos at the micro level. The last time my faith in the world and humanity was uprooted, it was in global ideas. Yet I could still take solace in my personal life, the little things I could touch. This time, no perspective or granularity of experience seems safe.

Things could always be worse and may still yet be… but they just were better too. However, this post is not intended to be about the current state of the world (could be a novel that I may write one day) or my life. Rather, this post is supposed to be about decidedly the opposite, about giving myself permission to turn away from those fixations briefly… for my month: October.

Anyone who knows me or follows me is aware that beyond being a horror author, I am an authentic horror genre and Halloween enthusiast. To suit my extreme/fixative personality, I go all in for holiday and surrounding month of October. (Let’s be real: the entire season, if not year round.)

It may seem flippant (and it definitely is) in times like these to indulge in books and movies and a holiday. However, these social media accounts are dedicated to my horror writing and the simple love of the genre. And I, for one, need the distraction. I need the simplicity. I haven’t stopped caring or worrying about all the more significant or more catastrophic elements around me, but I need to balance that with some irreverent fun. Otherwise, why bother?

While it may seem odd to watch zombie apocalypse movies during a global pandemic or while it may seem stupid to be excited over pumpkin spice and orange decorations while the western part of the country is on fire, my constant devout attention will not solve any of those problems. It will, however, cripple my mental health and cause my hair to fall out by the handful. It was always silly to wear a Halloween shirt every day and watch a horror movie for bingo every night. This year, it just seems ridiculous. Yet I am electing to give myself a little grace to be odd and stupid and find some damn joy somewhere, where I have always found it since childhood.

In my struggle to cope with all the things, I am attempting to come back to my own mantra, the mantra that was born out of the last time I dealt with these feelings. Life is largely shit and can end at any moment, so I need to suck any ounce of joy I can from any given moment. I need to pair this with the sentiment of controlling only what I can control. I may be able to take actions to help these macro problems, but I cannot control them. Some days, I may need to resign to work and worry at the micro level.

It is a luxury to be flippant and to capitalize on enjoyment when possible, so I am going to attempt to luxuriate a little bit. In short, it really is a shit show all around us. I am aware and have not forgotten. But for this month, it is still going to be horror movies and Hallowear and all the spooky traditions!

If nothing else, the pandemic has slowed me down, forced me to be “in” much more than I am accustomed. Historically, in October, I went all the places and did all the things and skidded into November a shell of a person. That is not an option this year.

This year will be about quality versus quantity. I will only be able to do a small subset of my normal activities and celebrations, but I intend to do them fully. Telluride Horror Show will be virtual; no haunted houses; no trick-or-treating; tiny cohort Halloween party. I intend to adapt to experience or create them in new ways. Rather than contorting and trying to shove normalcy into an abnormal situation, I am going to find a new realizations for these circumstances.

But whatever I do, I will be going all in.

Christina Bergling

Before you read my blog, read Khaya Ronkainen. Her poetry chapbook From the Depths of Darkness, took me on a heart wrenching and emotional journey.

Before you look at my horror photography pictures on Insta, check out @love_paperdoll who did the sickest Beetlejuice cosplay and @yoyosuicide who has fantastic horror tribute shots.

Before you check out my dwindling horror tweets, check out @AshleeTakesNote, @BlackGrlsHorror, and @blacula who know the genre better than I do.


Well, it seems like quarantine has come to an end, though it is up for debate as to whether the pandemic is behind us. It seems to be more of a political debate on social media than a public health question anymore, which is absolutely maddening as it muddiest the waters of decision making.

While I would love for the worst of it to be behind us, I don’t feel like it will be over that simply. I fear we will see at least another wave, perhaps more devastating than the first if history repeats. But only time will tell, and the wait and the uncertainty are torture.

But sometimes, history seems to converge. America did not take a break from its bullshit during the pandemic. Black people continued to get killed by the police, and videos continued to surface. When the video of George Floyd’s death got out, the entire country was largely still locked down, all watching with rapt attention, no longer distracted by their own lives, pent up and full of rage.

Minneapolis (where our families live) erupted, and so many other cities around the world responded with their own protests and riots. It is a response that is long overdue, that could have happened for so many deaths before his, but it happened now when these factors in history aligned.

There are MANY people with more to contribute on this topic than I can. I was insulated by my privilege my entire childhood. I was not really introduced to the extent of what that meant until I was in an interracial relationship, especially when we briefly lived in The South, and started raising a mixed family. So I go through this event as an ally on the outside, with part of my heart directly affected on the inside.

I don’t want to be silent because I am not compliant with how wrong things are. I don’t want to speak when it is not my conversation and not my turn to have my voice heard. I want to be an ally, but I don’t want to be told how to do it right because that is not someone else’s job to teach me. I want to try, even knowing I am going to do it wrong and fail over and over. But mostly, I want to get my children, particularly my child who cannot pass as white, through this and prepared the survive all the bullshit the world has waiting for them without destroying their childhood.

In short, I have no idea what I’m doing. Much like going through a pandemic, I am just at a loss. I feel like I am treading water as the waves keep crashing over my head.

I don’t have the scripts or life experiences to explain to my children how these things might affect them, how they might happen to them in their lives. My parents taught me about racism and hate when I was young, but it is such a different conversation to tell a child about something happens to other people versus something that could happen to them or their family. A “don’t do this” versus a “be scared of this” distinction.

I don’t know how to teach my daughter to be the only brown body in a classroom, the only curly head on a dance team. I only know the things white people tell themselves, which I have learned over and over are often only to make ourselves feel more comfortable. I can only speculate from the sidelines, defer to my partner who has lived that life.

I usually don’t know what I’m doing as a parent, usually am fumbling through at best; however, this level of ignorance makes me feel helpless, makes me feel worthless to them as their mother. I can only be as transparent as possible and seek the wisdom I lack from other sources. It will take a village to raise these children, even if that village is current convening via Zoom.

As the coronavirus and the protests slip from the news (yet both continue to happen), I cringe at the thought of the next surreal event to come surging on the horizon. I’ve heard murder hornets, asteroid, Yellowstone volcano. I can’t even tell the different between real and sensationally fake news anymore. At this point, I would not be entirely surprised (or upset) if alien overlords decided to land.

I only hope these major events channel us towards change. I hope a global pandemic directs us to better healthcare. I hope protests demand equality and justice. I am happy to suffer (especially at this low grade inconvenienced level of suffering) for things to get better.


Christina Bergling