The last day of their lives began like any other.
The halls of the United Nations were filled with tired faces and bloodshot eyes that belied long days, longer nights, and maybe a little too much weed.
America was pouring coffee and getting ready to turn back to Japan and hit her with a nonsensical rant about the Salem Witch Trials when the Devil decided that enough was enough.
At first, America thought it was an earthquake when the whole building began to shake violently. Coffee splashed everywhere when his ass hit the ground.
“Woo, that’ll wake ya up!”
Flailing and stumbling his way to the window, America peered down.
Did normal earthquakes involve a giant sinkhole opening up beneath the United Nations and dragging it into a lake of fire and brimstone?
“Fuck,” America said on an exhale. “It’s finally happening.” The end of their world. The day Satan himself finally decided to reclaim their wicked souls. He tapped at his phone. “Japan, I’ve waited fifty-seven years to do this.”
Above the sound of the crumbling apocalypse, “Stand By Me” filled the room–and with it, a sense of calm. America started swaying to the music. To his delight, Japan joined him. He tried to think of a better way to spend the last minutes of his life and could only come up with a scenario involving piles of money, bullet shells, and China. But that was a very specific sexual fantasy he’d have to save for the afterlife.
“You ever imagine the end would happen like this?” America asked.
“No,” Japan said. “What I imagined was always much worse.”
He laughed. She laughed. They both laughed and laughed and laughed until they couldn’t anymore.
No one panicked.
They always knew this day would come. And they knew they were destined for the bad place–for the people they killed, the lies they told, the wars they started.
In place of panic was acceptance. As the UN sunk deeper and deeper into the pits of hell, they gathered together, broke into their boxed wines and champagnes, and reminisced one last time.
China and North Korea stood by the window, both clutching the ledge to keep straight. Someone in the next room over was playing Ben E. King.
“This isn’t happening,” North Korea said as he fumbled in his pocket, once again falling into his usual habit of thinking that he could make something untrue by merely saying so. He lit a cigarette, gave it a few terse sucks, then passed it to China.
“What do you want your last words to be, Korea?” China said, accepting the gift.
“My last words?” North Korea looked at him intensely, eyes narrowed and lips curled. “I have none. They’ll hear my screams when they look upon the graves of the people they showered with their bombs and filled with their bullets. They’ll feel my whispers like ice on their skin every time my name passes their lips. They will drown in my roars of condemnation each and every time their students read that I, a little communist ‘shithole,’ made their mighty hegemons bow before my sword. Nothing could ever silence the thunder of my legacy. You see? No word will ever be my last.”
They fell into silence and listened to the muffled music as it ebbed–then picked up again. Somewhere down the hall, Russia was calling for her son. She would not get an answer.
“You?” North Korea asked quietly, looking away. “Your last words.”
China took a long drag off the cigarette and exhaled slowly, knowing well this one would be the last. And then he let the cigarette hit the floor and didn’t bother stomping it out.
Friends and readers,
After some introspection and sleeplessness and mental anguish, I have decided that this blog is not good for me and that I need to step away.
Of all the things that exacerbate, irritate, and trigger my depression symptoms, this blog and what it does to me is one of the worst.
What I’m about to tell you is not meant to place blame and inspire guilt. I just want you to know where I’m at. I’ve never told anyone these things before. Nobody knows about all the nights I spent fighting with myself and struggling to stay sane.
Alright. Here it goes.
Some years ago I created a blog called Prejudice & Politics because I wanted to inspire in others the same sense of humor and fascination that international relations inspired in me. I’m a writer and a politics geek and I had all kinds of characters and thoughts and stories filling my mind. It was painful. So, like all writers, I wrote to release the chaos in my head. And it was fun! For a while.
At some point, I started to care about visibility. Every content creator wants to be seen and I am not unique in this. But caring about views grew into an anxiety-driven obsession and the constant need to “do better.”
I had dreams of P&P being a popular and successful brand/series. Of me making a name for myself in the world of online political satire. Of becoming something more than a niche fiction blog that gets maybe ten views on a good day. Like every writer, I wanted to build a readership who liked my characters and their stories. But that never happened because I was doing something wrong–or I wasn’t doing something right. Could never figure out which it was.
I tortured myself with questions. Was I not trying hard enough? Was my marketing strategy bad? Was I not funny? Did people just not care about the topics I was writing about? Was the personification thing too niche?
In an attempt to “fix” the problem, I tried different things. I tried advertising myself, promoting P&P on my other pages, putting together an e-book, incorporating new characters into my stories, incorporating illustrations, hosting community events, stepping out of my comfort zone and writing about current affairs and US domestic politics. And each time, nothing helped. Nothing changed.
But I kept writing, even though I knew nothing I published would ever meet my expectations or mean anything to anyone. And each time I let myself down, it killed me a little more inside. To feel lost and trapped, to feel like no matter what you do or how hard you try nothing will ever get better–that is a special kind of hell.
Maybe I should have known something was wrong with me when, as I stood mindlessly and numbly wiping down the coffee bar at work, had my first dangerous thought: If I’m dead, I won’t have to worry about ever amounting to anything.
Obviously, that is not a normal thing that healthy people think and I recognize now that medication and therapy have their benefits. But that thought surmises what became of my relationship with this blog. P&P turned into a perfect metaphor for how I viewed my life: stagnant, pointless, hopeless.
A sense of guilt hits me every time I think about this. Why do I let this get to me so badly? Why does it matter so much? Whatever happened to doing what I love and not caring what anyone else thinks? But I do care, and I can’t stop myself from caring. And if I can’t stop myself from caring then I am miserable.
At the end of it all, I came to a conclusion. I told myself that if I couldn’t write for other people, I would write for myself. But if I write for myself, why blog? When a relationship isn’t working out, you end it. So… why not end this?
Basically, I’ve failed. I’ve failed to achieve what I’ve sought after these past five years. My illness and my irrationality have taken something I once loved and turned it into a soul-sucking monster. Like the animal stuck in the hunter’s trap, I am chewing off my own foot. Except, in this case, the foot is my dreams and I am very, very sad.
Maybe years down the road I’ll regret doing this, regret not holding out a little longer to wait for the rainbow at the end of the rain. Or maybe there was never going to be a rainbow and this was the right choice. But I can’t see the future so I’m doing what’s best for me right now, even if it hurts.
Like America, I don’t like sad goodbyes.
So, one last time, here’s me figuratively pouring one out for the bad jokes, the hours spent researching the intricacies of Sino-NK relations (which, let’s be honest, was more pleasure than business), for the laughs I’ve shared with my readers, for the lovely people who have stuck with me this long, for that weird mansplaining comment I got once, for the kind student who wanted to interview me for a paper they were writing on personification in media, for the people who taught me how to grow and change when I did something stupid, and for all the weird political sex stories I’ve written and have kept in my secrets files, never to see the light of day.
Though I have sunken into the depths of depression several times over these years, I’ve had fun too. I don’t regret writing Prejudice & Politics. I only regret that I wasn’t capable of doing more with it.
So with that, I bid farewell.
To Prejudice & Politics.
To giving a shit.
And I wish the best for every single one of you.
Stay cool, stay creative, and stay very, very angry at the government.
Listen. Listen. You’re gonna miss this sweet ass now that it’s gone. You’ll miss it like your juicy lips miss a Dave’s Triple the first day of your new diet. Look, I’m in hell. I don’t give a shit about diets. I don’t give a shit about anything. You should though. You should be out there livin’ your best life. I want you to thrive, bitch. See, I can be nice now that I’m dead.
Look at me. Look at my sexy American blue jeans and my sexy cowboy boots. Look at my tits. Especially my tits. Commit them to memory. Burn the teasing slope my backside into your brain forever. I want you to remember me as I am, not as I was.
You got it? Am I in your brain? Good. Now imagine me kissing you goodbye one last time. It doesn’t have to involve the tongue or anything weird, okay? Unless you really want it to. It could definitely involve more than the tongue.
You know… Thinking back on my life in these stories, it’s been real. It’s been fun. Can’t say it’s been real fun though. I was kinda hoping to make it to the big screen one day so I could give the world the bisexual representation it so desperately needs. Hey, teens, you wanna kiss everyone and also wield enough unbridled hegemonic power to bend weaker countries to your will? I’m here for you.
Alright, I gotta go. Hell beckons, and I’m about five minutes away from kicking Satan’s ass and taking that throne for myself. Gonna have to fight Russia for it though. Wish me luck.