The World Is Cancelled But Is It Really?!

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Uhhhhh, yes. It is. The world as we knew it: cancelled. She gone. Despite what the image above would have us beleve. The ways in which we moved, travelled and functioned in the world: cancelled. The ways we bought groceries, and hung out with our family and friends: cancelled. And you know what I say: good riddance. That world was not delightful. At least not entirely. There were surely pockets of delight but a lot was wrong and going wrong. It was broken down in a lot of significant ways and we are living the proof of that brokenness and the desperate need for a hard reset. And that’s what we are in right now, a hard reset. And it’s good, we can make it good.

One of my favourite, favourite, favourite (did I mention it’s a favourite?) poems comes from Maggie Smith. It is called “Good Bones” and in the poem she is trying to sell her children on a world that is a real shit hole. It’s an awful and broken down place that she is working to give her children, not just hope in, but, the belief that they can make it better; beautiful even. And that’s what we should be doing, maybe always, but certainly right now. We should be constantly and relentlessly looking at the world and where there are gaps and shortcomings; holes to be filled. We should honestly and truthfully examine this place and ourselves and our role in it. Because if we don’t examine ourselves and our own negligence and narcissism, the world will surely keep on turning and it will surely break again. And again. And again. Until one of these times, the brokenness is beyond repair.

A lot of people would view this line of thinking as hopeless and fatalistic and that’s okay; that may even be fair. But, I don’t see it that way and I don’t see that line of thinking as being hopeless or fatalistic. If anything, I see it as a relentless act of hope and optimism to imagine a world that could be, that is not yet so, and that we could have a role in bringing about. That is major. That is the biggest deal there is and we can only get there by being honest that things are not perfect and they’re not meant to be. The world, like ourselves, ought to be seen as a work in progress. Something with, as Maggie Smith might say, really good bones. Something to be improved upon and made better.

This is not about hating or resenting the world, or, ourselves. On the contrary, this a radical act of love of self and others. To the love the world and the people in it so much that you can see its best self. You can see all the possibility and all the potential and you know you can play a part in bringing it all about, beginning with, loving yourself enough to bring your best self to the table. By letting your own light shine. That is remarkable and powerful and amazing and awesomely stunning. And we can get there, but we will only ever get there, by first being truthful.

So, yes, getting outside, music and love and friendship and family and reading are not cancelled. But they are changed and it’s unfair to pretend that they are not. We cannot go outside as we naturally as we would have before. We cannot love our friends and family up close as we once did. We cannot go to a coffee shop and sit and read for hours with other people within six feet. There has been a change and whoever says that change, and the world itself, are not to some degree heartbreaking, just aren’t paying attention. The artifice with which we can say things are not changed and will simply snap back to normal is gone. The veil has been lifted and the mirror has been cracked, but, the bones are still there and the bones are good. So, let’s not as the GIFs and the posters and the memes tell us to do: embrace what we have. Instead, let’s love and have enough hope for ourselves and each other and the world to be honest about what isn’t working and what is lost, and, should never again be found, so we can then imagine and truly embrace how much more we could have and how much more we could be. The world right now is indeed a real shit hole but, it is still beautiful, and it can be even more beautiful. And we can make it so.

Originally published at on May 15, 2020.

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