The End | A Final Thought From Co-Founder and Former Editor-in-Chief Nadya Markowska
I was angry when we started this endeavor.
A lot of people were angry in 2020–and a lot of people are still angry–but anger all but ruled my life back in those traumatic days. I was angry at the government, I was angry at the cops that beat up me and my friends, I was angry about the fascist goons that were marauding around our cities, I was angry that thousands and thousands of people were dying horrible deaths every single day, I was angry that the forests were on fire and the sky was filled with smoke, I was angry that my boss at my day job was a cold and soulless capitalist, I was angry that my landlord kept taking my money and – perhaps most importantly to my personal life and well-being – I was so fucking angry that I wasn’t a girl.
To me, DSM was born out of my deep-rooted anger at everything and everyone. While I did not and could not start and operate a little alt-news organization on my own, my primary motivation in those early days was anger, regardless of what my fellow writers and editors were trying to do. Perhaps my comrades had more noble intentions, but writing and editing for an online outlet that covered those turbulent times in a personal and honest manner was a way for me to poke the people and powers I was angry at in the eyes. When I look back at many of the stories I wrote for this project, I see my anger seeping through every line. I wanted to be a buzzing fly in their ears, a handful of sand in their gears, a well-timed stick thrown into the spokes of their bicycles.
I wanted so badly to be seen as an irreverent writer with a vendetta against the powerful people who ruled my and everyone else’s life, that much is clear. I thought that was my role in what felt to be the opening months of some great new American Revolution. I wanted to be a 21st-century Jean-Paul Marat or William Lloyd Garrison. I did not wish to think, or speak, or write in moderation. I wanted my words to inspire people to get up and just fucking do something, damn it!
And maybe they did. I don’t know. If something I wrote encouraged people – even one person – to make a change in the world, if I changed even a single life over the course of the past three years, then I can consider my work a success.
But, I can’t lie, I would feel weird knowing that it was my anger that inspired people, especially now that I’m trying my damndest to leave the angry young man I was pretending to be in the past.
If I’m being honest – and I really am trying to be – I’m not entirely proud of my approach to DSM’s mission. I think our mission was noble, and I think our writing was inspired and fresh and unique, especially our deep-dive research articles about Northwestern fascists and Christian nationalist movements and historical trends in the Willamette Valley, but my work, specifically, is underpinned with so much anger and angst and indirect gender dysphoria that I find it hard to revisit a lot of these stories. They’re like tiny time capsules of a miserable time in my life, manifested as wordy articles in which I searched for something to be pissed off about to help distract me from what I was actually pissed about. Some of these stories feel like they were written by a completely different person. In many ways, they were.
You wanna know the fucked up thing, though? I wouldn’t change a thing – not a single damn thing.
For everything DSM was for our community of readers, it was arguably the single most crucial experience that led to me finally coming to grips with the fact that I’m trans. I spent years channeling all that anger I felt into my writing, but the anger never went away, because I wasn’t being honest with myself. There were a million reasons for me to be angry every day, but none of them were the reason why my rage kept on simmering.
I’m still angry, of course. As any trans person will tell you, there are many, many, many reasons to be angry at a world where so many people actively hate us with the zealous passion found in the hearts of fanatics. I live everyday knowing that I’m under constant threat of bigoted violence. There are entire states where my very existence is illegal. My family has disowned me, and I’m not sure that I’ll ever see my hometown again. I have every reason to be angry.
But I’m not afraid anymore. The anger I feel today is drastically different from the anger I used to feel, because it doesn’t come from fear. It comes from this righteous truth that I feel deep in the core of my being. More importantly, though, is that my life is now imbued with a kind of love and joy that I never thought possible before coming out. I understand now that it’s possible to love and be loved in my truest form. I know what’s possible, and I know how wonderful the world can be when this sort of love takes root in someone’s heart.
And no one is ever going to take that away from me, no matter how hard they try, no matter what they do.
If there’s one thing I hope you take from our time together, dear readers, is that you too can love and be loved. You too can make a difference in your community, and it doesn’t have to be a big difference, either. Even the tiniest efforts to help your friends, your neighbors, and even the people you don’t know yet go a long way. Trust me on this. I, as much as anyone, know the frustration that comes with feeling like we’re not doing enough, that our efforts are all for naught.
But, sometimes, the effort is all that counts. If anything, I hope we’ve proved that we don’t need the established systems of information and news distribution to tell us what to think or how to feel or in which ways we have to view the world or in what manner we must challenge these systems of oppression and domination.
Don’t let our cessation of activities damper your radical spirits. Don’t let fear rule your lives. Don’t trust those who say they have your best interests at heart while breaking that trust over and over again. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do or how to live your life.
You are loved.
So farewell, dear readers. Thank you for everything. I hope our time together was not in vain, and I hope that wonderful, glorious future of which we’ve been dreaming will arrive in our lifetimes.
Until then, don’t give up the fight.
If you would like to send me a nice letter, you can shoot me an email at nadyamarkowska (at) gmail dot com. Or, better yet, if you’d like to send me a goodbye present in the form of cash, you can find my Venmo (at)nadyamarkowska.