Britta Gustafson: Untethered and set adrift

Britta Gustafson
Then Again

That thrilling, terrifying, split-second of complete weightless disconnect when hovering over the seat on a roller coaster in temporary suspension; that is this moment.

Yet, unlike the thrill of a coaster and its temporary nature this weightless disconnect seems unyielding.

To say it’s been a ride seems like an understatement. The gravity of this era is ungrounding as this new hang-about lifestyle with its rapid unraveling of the very definition of normal is filled with restrained liberation. Because when there is nothing to anchor us — no leadership, tangible ideologies, or reliable resources to strap us in — while an abundance of feckless amorality and uncertainty ricochets around in our thoughts, then off we go.

Our daily tasks seem to become obstacles as the nebulous atmosphere around us grows. We can’t grasp for help when the relationships that once made sense begin to decompose as we discover how to agree to disagree to agree. We pine for a past that never was, afraid of being pulled into an abyss of ambiguity.

Now, the journey we had been enjoying is clouded and obscured, though perhaps it always was. And in this age of communication, we have forgotten how to navigate our own thoughts so we stagnate in limbo, waiting for the fabled normal to return. All this while the roots we had planted are undermined and the floor we had built is collapsing, leaving us spinning with less and less space on which to land. And up and up we go.

The climate cries “fire” while we search weather apps for answers, even though we know full well the reason. And our voices are stifled and muffled by the din of disillusion. So, in avoidance, we binge-watch our Netflix or scroll endless news feeds for conflicting answers. The comments sections in the newspapers are hijacked by the faceless who are emboldened by anonymity, sharing their predictable outbursts appealing to our primal, Jerry Springer-esque voyeurism. We read on, entirely missing the point of the properly vetted journalist. Because facts shmacts; truthiness prevails. We spin off this way and that, no guidance, no direction. No two stories share the same statistics; data schmata. Who cares. “How do you know that? Twitter told me.” Dizzy, we nosedive down into newspeak and doublethink, tweeting and baying on Facebook and TikTok, it all sounds like Seuss talk.

Tossing and flailing, we try to grab onto something but recognize nothing. But is nothing something?

Good luck little children, just try to keep going and don’t let them shush you when the grownups are talking, because no one is listening since everyone’s yelling. Just get ready for something, because tomorrow’s still coming and no one can tell you the best is in the past.

But try as we may to touch down for a moment, that moment won’t hold us; our gravity has shifted and the overturned order seems inside and out.

Let’s exchange a piece of my mind for a little peace of mind; after all, if we always agree what will we talk about? Britta Gustafson appreciates an open mind; share yours and email her at