Picking myself apart
You'd think at my age I'd thought of something better to do
Than make insecurity into a full time job
Make insecurity into an art
And I fear my life will be over
And I will have never lived unfettered
Always glaring into mirrors
Mad I don't look better
- Ani DiFranco, "Present/Infant"
I've been walking a fine line since the week of the RNC, trying to stay aware of what's going on politically as we ramp up to the fever pitch of what's potentially the most important election of my life....and also keeping my head down, so I don't crumble into an aching pit of grievous, wounded hopelessness. Or lose the handle on my rage and spontaneously combust by accidentally reading something spoken by the biggest insult to feminism the GOP ever dreamt up (and yeah, I'm talkin' about their VP pick, grrr).
Yeah, some days it's touch and go.
I have been doing a lot of checking in with myself lately, trying to figure out where I am these days. Sometimes that means big picture stuff - where am I when I put my life and my actions and choices in the context of the whole world, of the broader goals I have for my life, of what I want to do with the resources I have in this lifetime? Other times, it means more mundane conversations with myself...how am I doing at home? How's the day job sitting with me? Am I putting my everyday energies where I want them? Am I having the realtime impact I want to be having? Where do I have abundance? Where am I feeling lack? Are there changes I need or want to make? Are there things I can release with gratitude?
I'm one of those self-analytical wanks, yes. Sorry about that.
What's becoming more interesting to me lately is the place where those bigger questions merge with the more mundane stuff. How my job feeds the big picture (like giving me financial resources I can use to support my ideals, by providing for my basic survival needs so I have the luxury of time to devote to other questions, by putting me in a position to take extra steps I might not be able to do without the resources afforded me by my job, etc., etc.). How the state of my home is a reflection of the life I want to live, an act of sympathetic magic to keep my focus on the things that really matter to me and help support me in making them happen (like my plans to paint my bedroom crazy colors and hang mostly my own artwork on the walls...because hey, creativity is important in my life, and I want it to be constantly renewed). How my lack of a good open space at home has allowed me to bail on regular yoga practice (the quickie stuff I do in the bathroom at the office when I get a break most assuredly does not count)...and how making space in my home helps me make space in my life.
So, connecting the micro to the macro. The gray mushy middle where pretty much everything that exists lives, no matter how much my brain wants things to polarize into nice, clear black and white. Complication. Complexity. Paradox.
My heart is heavy a lot lately. I'm feeling powerless to help New Orleans or Galveston or Haiti or Ethiopia or Rwanda or Myanmar or China or any of the people around the globe suffering because the Earth is fighting back. I'm feeling furious at the way the world is revolving around American politics when there are so many bigger and more important things to think about...and my own reaction when I read that someone was saying America wasn't an economic superpower anymore was still defensiveness. I hear all the doomsayers predicting that the world will end if some of the richest people in the world don't get a huge fucking check yesterday...and maybe there will be difficult consequences for lots of people; tell me why we don't ameliorate those consequences then, instead of throwing good money after bad, straight into the capacious maw of a broken fucking system? I don't get how people in power can sleep at night, knowing the system that clothes and feeds and houses them in luxury and wealth...is not only doing so squarely on the necks of billions of people, but is then going to pour salt in those wounds by voting themselves a huge fucking pat on the back. I just don't understand, and it's leaving me conflicted and angry.
And, you know, on a personal level, my brother the child molester is getting out of jail sometime in the next six months, most likely. My brother the lying, cheating, stealing, two-faced, weasely son-of-a-bitch....my brother who never met a person he couldn't take advantage of....my brother who can be genuinely sweet and open-minded and rebellious and wise...my brother who fucked a thirteen year old for months (while married, of course). He's up for parole soon, and I still haven't sorted out how the fuck I feel about it. On the one hand, he's my little brother, and I love him no matter what he does. But on the other hand, he's done something I find reprehensible on every level imaginable. I am lip-curlingly disgusted when I think about it - and about how I spend months believing he didn't do it, he couldn't do it. I harangued his public defender, split the cost of an independent polygraph, sent him reams of reading material and letters to help keep him occupied while he awaited trial. And, like so many times in my life, the joke was on me, 'cause he fucking did it. He did it, and he lied to me to get what he wanted, and I bought his story and went out of my way to try to help him, and he was laughing up his sleeve the whole fucking time.
So, yeah, still sort of working through that right there. I haven't spoken to him since Christmas of last year, where he ambushed me while I was visiting family, and proceeded to make me cry, and tell me he wouldn't let me cut him out of my life. He's written me a couple times, and he talks to my family fairly regularly, and he apparently asked my mother to ask me to write him a character letter or something to help him get parole. I may someday talk to him again, but he can fucking kiss my ass if he thinks I'll write him a letter. If I write anything, it will be to recommend that he stay in the full term of his sentence.
Okay, phew. Letting go of that for real this time.
Anyway. My point (and I do have one) is that I'm in a place of supreme weirdness at the moment. My life, much like my bedroom, is in a state of confusion and indecision. Not all that surprising, considering the state of the world (and that Mercury went retrograde this week). I suspect the next month will see some resolution.
Or maybe that's just what I'm hoping for.
P.S. This essay from Starhawk is really good:
I hear arguments from some of my dear friends that voting doesn't matter, that it's not empowering or revolutionary. But for the vast majority of people in this country, elections are the only place where they interface with politics or attempt to exercise power, and if we sneer at that, we lose the chance to link together and open up broader channels for change. And for the kids I've worked with in the Bayview, who have never seen a flowing river and whose career options range from crack dealer to murder-for-hire, voting would be a big step upwards.
So, yeah, even if you're in a political funk like me...Rock The Vote (go there if you need to register) (go here if you need to check and make sure you're registered properly).