Monday, July 25, 2011

Standing Silent, Even While It Stings

I recognize the need to keep a stiff upper lip. It's part play-acting, for others' sake and for your own. If you say it enough times, you believe it. "I'm fine. No worries." I am not so big on play-acting, though it has its place. Generally though I'm more of an emotional billboard, announcing broadly exactly what I feel.

Not sure which way to go right now.

I'll tell you honestly that I feel a strange kind of sad. It's strange because there's a stiff-upper-lip built into it, and I don't know why.

Maybe the crash started when I was coming down off the multi-day high of sexual tension building over e-media: photos and words exchanged, the former stolen and reblogged, the latter crafted by me. If crescendo doesn't mean crashing, it should.

This Saturday was full of wicked news: The untimely death of Amy Winehouse, crooner extraordinaire and a real hot mess. The massacre in Norway, by a man claiming to be a Christian, fighting for Israel. And the unrelenting heat wave, which wasn't really news, but continued to punish us across the country.

I feel guilt about Amy Winehouse -- probably not entirely because I feel that I should've done something more -- but more because her death is an echo of a work friend who died late last fall, also found dead in her bed, also who struggled with alcohol and a hard, complicated life. I didn't help her either, but rather kept her an arm's length away, not wanting the dark cloud of her defeating life to touch mine. I feel guilt about that, guilt that I didn't reach out, care more, fix more.

I am bitter about my inner desire to fix and heal. I see it as an illness that looks like graciousness but is probably rooted in something deeper, sicker, and certainly less desirable. I have already promised myself and announced that I am not going to be anybody's white knight anymore. Any potential partner will come with the ability to solve her own shit, and a job of her own.

I'm distressed about the Norway shooter, who claims to have done his destruction because he wants to support Israel. Whack-job militaristic nut bags defending Israel was NOT in my wishlist for peace in the Middle East. I'm left to wonder when the cycle of attack/defend from the other children of Abraham will simmer down enough to have a family reunion. Must we lump all Christians together? Must we lump all Muslims together? God knows the Jews themselves don't want to be indistinguishable from each other, even while we grudgingly defend our own whack-job counterparts' right to exist. Exist yes, legislate no. I fear the total demise of pluralistic religion in Israel, as the "right way" to be Jewish narrows.

My friends are largely saner than I. They explain to me the realistic expectations that I should have: I can't have done a thing for Amy Winehouse. There will probably never be peace in the Middle East. My friends think it's sweet that I want to save the world, but they're a fairly logical bunch, geeks and scientists and such. I would rather live near them, though, to counterbalance my own lofty dreams and excessive emotion. Someone needs to give me the high water mark, so I know when I'm flying and need to come down.

So. I saw the flag. The those-are-your-emotions flag and the data that accompanies it. I suppose that's where I know I need to buck it up, and keep going. Me and my long face did laundry and cleared off the mountain of crap on my coffee table. I did not cry, as I often do when I am overwhelmed with the sad emotion of the composite of humanity. It is not a happy story, even when you sample the greatness of some, the compassion of many. No. Overwhelmingly it is a story that makes you shout "not fair!" and occasionally "why me?" out loud. I feel the lows, and I am sometimes unwilling if not unable to drag myself out of bed and to work. I don't take a pill for it... yet. I am mostly healthy, even though my knees scream at me during and after a workout. According to doctors I am slowly dying from fatness. Even still I struggle with not consuming my grief through calories. I seek other solutions, other ways to relieve my soul. I workout like a maniac, every day I can, turning myself into an addict for adrenaline & pushing myself beyond my comfort zone.

Who am I to want to mend souls, with my own a patchwork in tatters? I don't know. But I know when others hurt, I hurt. Empathy is hardly a strength, when it buckles my own knees. My brain searches for a solution. It is an equation, after all. There must be a way to solve it. And then I think: there is a way, through loss, through pain and tragedy. I know, I sound melodramatic. But the point is: that *has* to be there. Has to be. Not just because we need an opposite for happiness and triumph. The negative is the chisel to the positive marble, cutting away the excess, showing us the form inside the block. It belongs. It is part of the process.

So. No crying, unless it's one of those stoic single tears tracing the curve of my cheek. Chin up, and stand tall. No one is going to save you but you. No one can do what you want, but you. Dust off your boots and tighten the tourniquet. Keep walking, cowboy.

1 comment:

  1. Empathy is a gift not a curse. The caveat is we must love and take care of ourselves so we have the emotional strength to help others. Be aware of the energy coming at you.