From the Journal of the Great Leader | Age 21
May 20th, 2022

Orcas are dead. All of them. At some point humanity failed them. I can’t help but feel responsible. Not because I’ve ever had anything to do with killer whales, I’m just part of this gatekeeping creed (humanity) that failed them. It’s a strange helplessness. Planetary helplessness. As if humanity is a meteor that can’t help but continuously crash into Earth.

I’ve reached out to a few organizations to volunteer. Not that anything will bring the whales back. I just wanted to do something good and help other marine life from reaching the same fate.

I’m not making sense. None of this affected me until it happened. I didn’t even know they were that close to extinction. Why is it that things only matter once they’re done?

Before all this news, I told mom I dropped out of school. She wasn’t happy about it, but she didn’t say anything. All she said was that I must have a good reason for it. I thought I did, but I’m not sure anymore. I don’t really know what I’m doing anymore. Growing up, I heard from so many adults that I had “potential.” Well now I’m living in the time where that potential is supposed to be something and I’m just not seeing it. Potential for what? What have people seen in me that I can’t see?

I could still graduate someday, if it turns out that it’s what’s best. I’m just a semester shy. When Sara asked me why, all I could say was that I wasn’t ready for that sort of finality. It all sounds so stupid now, with orcas vanished from the face of the Earth. There are different levels to finality and I see that now.

Finishing school would have meant fulfilling the potential everyone else saw in me. Now I’m free to explore what exactly potential means to me. What is my potential without this old idea of myself? Who am I now that the killer whale is gone? I never had to wonder such a thing and now it’s all I can think about.


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