I told Red I felt like a sponge that has absorbed too much and can’t hold anything more. I used this analogy to describe my feeling of being incapable of taking on anything more.
some days I feel like a sponge
like all of the hard stuff is just soaking in
the way white people treat people of color
the way it’s all stacked against change
the othering, the shaming, the disregard
I know that this sponge-like way I am is part of who I am as a writer so I can’t wish it away, but sometimes it feels like I can’t hold it all.
Do you have days when you want to renounce your species? When it feels like no matter what we do, we can’t turn the ship enough to avoid dashing it on the iceberg we can see but so many others cannot?
I have this feeling in my center, above my gut and below my chest, it’s a tightness, like something waiting to burst. Like the way it feels when the tears won’t come. I don’t know why it’s so bad today. Probably related to my general stress load and this anxiety about change, but also lack of change. I know there are changes coming that are for the best, in terms of meeting some of my goals. I also know that change means some amount of internal chaos. I’m a person who feels better when I have routines. I’m good at them and they comfort me. My routines are my security blanket. Losing my job pulled my daily routine out from under me. I floundered for a bit before I created a new set of routines, which I have enjoyed very much (shout out to Red for offering up a space for my new routine). It looks like I’ll have a job situation starting tomorrow and going into next year. This is good, no doubt about it. Having a job will relieve a big load of anxiety. It’s also another change and means my newly created and cherished routine of spending my mornings at Red’s place with George the Mayhem Kitty will have to be dropped. Mixed feelings for sure.
Autumn is coming. I know many of you don’t want to let go of summer yet. I like fall, actually, and also it is a time of changing routines. My kids go back to school. There are soccer practices to get the little one to and games on Saturdays. We’ll all begin to come back in from the outdoors. None of these things are bad in and of themselves. I’m just too full to deal with so much change.
Too full. Over capacity. Overwhelmed. Needing to be wrung out.
There’s a football player who won’t stand for the national anthem because the flag stands for a country ruled by racism. A country where men who look like him are killed by law enforcement officers even when they don’t break the law. And he’s right and yet some people are falling over themselves to burn his jersey and belittle his moral stand. In the same week we hear that a rapist who received a laughable 6 month term will be released after only 3 months. Where are the people burning his likeness? In the course of driving today, I went past a woman of color taking a walk. My thoughts turned to wondering if she was a mother and if she was, if she had any sons. It was not the first time I pondered the pain of knowing that your precious child would grow up to be the country’s number one target for hate and fear and murderous ignorance. When my children were born, I held them and looked at them with absolute love and wonder. These precious little lives that we help bring into the world, they look to us to teach them so much. And much of what we teach is truly awful. They learn to fear people different from themselves; girls learn to fear boys and men while boys and men learn to fear any shred of vulnerability in themselves. Our children learn all of our biases and fears and assumptions. They learn that boys will be boys and get away with everything, including murder, sometimes, depending on their skin color. Our girls grow up in a world where they are still treated as if they are the property of men. We live in a society that still judges people by their skin color, by their lineage, by their gender and sexuality, by their capabilities. What if we only judged people on their capacity to love?
I can see the problems but I can’t figure out how to fix them. I don’t know which wires to cut, which code to patch, which wrench to throw into which machine.
Every day there is another atrocity displayed in full color on my computer screen. Another source of grief, another catastrophe caused by some mother’s child. When we look at them in our arms, freshly minted and without hate, they are so full of love and life and the simple emotions of being alive. And from then on, this world begins to do its work, its vile insidious work. Turning our sweet fresh humans into … OK, it’s not all bad, right? Some of those fresh humans turn out to be pretty awesome children, kids, teens and adults. That’s true. I guess I’m just thinking about the ones who are weaned on hate and bias and raised to take that bigotry out into the world like spores. Spores that begin the cycle anew.
Interrupting that cycle is a huge job and though there are magnificent warriors of love and truth fighting against it every day, it doesn’t feel like enough. All over the world, children are dying because the men in charge believe in solving problems through war. Everyday we take more fatal blows. Corporations are citizens and don’t give a fuck about us. Capitalism doesn’t care if we don’t have water to drink, it just cares about its pipelines or corporate water rights. We aren’t individuals, we’re just statistics that can be arranged in such a way that we don’t matter.
It was Red’s idea to word-vomit here as a part of my wringing-out process. A good idea, thank you. Getting my chaotic-brain voices into words does help. I’m still over-capacity. Being open-hearted and taking everything in does fuel my art, and it also causes my heart to ache. I don’t know any cure but to just keep going.
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…
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