Thursday, March 21, 2013
Impatient with Despair
I spent years ignoring, fighting, pushing down and hiding my deep despair.
It's not who I am. I am not just that. I have so much love, so much hope, so much joy, so much beauty in my life every single day.
And I have despair. Or sorrow? Whatever. I can be fine, going along just fine, and something will trigger it. A news story (so many lately), a song on the radio...really, almost any of the common signs of the patriarchy, the war machine, the rape culture, the commercial control, the shallow and brutal nature of my species. The human species.
Yesterday, feeling great. This morning, I woke up and I knew SHE was in the room with me.
Over the last few years, I've worked hard to allow myself to process the sadness out, like feces. Like birth, is a nicer analogy. The cramps that my body interprets from the flow of what is. But I have to say, when I felt Despair in my room with me today, I didn't want to. I didn't want to let it flow. I didn't want to let it wash over me. I didn't want to feel it at all.
I felt angry with it for existing. I felt angry with all the legitimate, valid reasons why I could live my entire life feeling despair every second, if I let myself pay attention to that. Yes, there are reasons to hope, to exalt, to celebrate, when you look. But they don't erase the horror of humanity's utter failure to grow up. That's always there too, a wedge. And I'm sick of processing it while so many of my species just harden the casings on their hearts and make themselves bullet-proof to it, instead of trying to change it. I'm sick of it existing and having reasons to exist. I'm sick of it marring my life experience, which otherwise is amazing.
The Positivers will have you just re-focus your mind. But to me that is selfish and self-serving, an emergency measure to keep you on track but ultimately, not a fix. The Change-The-Worlders will have you channel it into largely unappreciated, unsupported and potentially alienating action. I can (and do) take action, sure, to some extent, but once in awhile it's hard to ignore how futile, isolated and up-hill my individual efforts feel. In the end, I often feel more diminished than uplifted when I review how very ineffective I am. Even people who agree with me don't ally with me. I feel alone in a crowd.
I don't want to give Despair this morning of mine, yet it won't let me do anything else. I know it will pass. I tell myself the cliches that hold some truth. I remind myself that a pile of sand is a million individual grains that can be moved one at a time. I remind myself of the progress of the past 200 years and what's possible in 200 more. But really, when she arrives, Despair does an amazing job of cutting these thought exercises to their bones, and building up a far more likely society of increasing human brutality, coldness, cynicism. She takes over my body, mind and spirit until I can process her out with movement, with breath, with tears, with sleep. Like a virus, a parasite, a blood-born disease. She takes all my energy to process her OUT.
I don't want to use the methods I've developed for moving Sorrow through, any more than I want to talk with the telemarketers who interrupt my day. I don't want to engage with her at all. I don't want her to have any reason to exist. I want to believe the world is good, progress is towards compassion, and living my life fully will make a difference. I want that belief to not feel so deluded in light of evidence that stacks up on the opposite side. I want humanity to be better.
I'm bored with despair. I'm sick of it. I've lost my patience for it.
Despair, and anger with despair. Great combo.
But you know what manages anger? Only love.
(I'd better fill myself up)