September 19, 2019 by Labrys
Or, did I listen to Laura Nyro singing “Age of Aquarius” one too many times? Both the macrocosm of life outside my walls and the microcosm of marriage and household are an embarrassment of traumatic/psychological “riches” of late. So I’ve been busy juggling in my head and in physical life, only able to take in a small percentage of news without wishing (again) to just become a drunk in my last quarter of life. Let’s deal with the alleged “big picture” first, ok?
First? I’m a parent of now grown children. But I still remember what the first big school shooting did to them. And believe me when I say every shooting traumatizes them more. This video is a dramatization, but certainly not fiction. Watch it and then ask your legislators and senators WHY your children should ever have to think/feel like the kids in that film! Oh, yes, comments are closed because I don’t want to listen to bitching about “no trigger warning.” Here’s my view on that: things trigger you for a reason – it means you need to CHANGE some fucking thing to eliminate the CAUSE of the trigger, not avoid the bad feelings.. So, I WANT that film to trigger you to get off your ass and do something to protect children in America from gun violence.
Second: We are killing our planet. Now, I loved Star Trek, Firefly, Blade Runner, etc. But NO, I don’t want to live out in space because frankly, I think it unlikely if not impossible. So if you all are nurturing any heroic ideal stories of a human space diaspora? Fuck that shit and wake up and smell the evaporating water with no coffee, ok? Even if anyone gets off this dying rock – it is not going to be folks like you and I (unless Bill Gates or Elon-fucking-Musk is reading). Science fiction is much more like Neo-fairy tales that tell you how NOT to do it than it is heroic pioneer stories.
Third: Just how many wars do you think we can really fight, especially if the Commander-in-Thief starts a new one (with Iran at the behest of his Saudi buddies – you know, the nation that actually brought us 9-11?) just to distract you/get re-elected to stay out of jail? He is already stealing from Pentagon coffers for his monument to himself – his racist wall; and yet he will expect the military to fight and win with less. Ask any Marine you know how well that goes and what the real cost is, ok? In terms of funding, the Marines are treated like the much-maligned “red-headed step children” and they suffer as a result. I marvel that there are no huge veterans’ marches to Washington D.C. as more and more, the military is expected to “do more with less”. Except it’s more deaths/casualties for ever less tangible wins.
Then, the personal side? Marriage between two people with PTSD and tons of baggage from abusive childhoods is a labyrinth. That’s why I call my husband the Minotaur. Me? Oh, I had such a heroic ideal for myself; I wasn’t going to be Theseus and kill the “monster” – I was going to be the sacrificial maiden who did not run away, who “saw” the monster and met and healed him. How has that worked out, you ask? Not so fucking well, to be honest.
It’s been really, really rough. I keep climbing up on that goddamned sacrificial altar, but I often sacrificed things aside from myself – some needs of my children, most of my own dreams, friendships, jobs. I see hope, but hope is also the knife that stabs at me on that altar. It’s a long hard fall off the heroic ideal, let me tell you.
Progress is slow or nonexistent if the real wound cannot be found and addressed – I’m like some mythologically armed EMT trying to stop a hemorrhage I cannot find because the victim is hiding it from me and from himself. We keep playing out a horrible personal drama involving victim and villain – switching parts in acts one and two. I’m learning to exit stage left (thank you Snagglepuss) some of the time. But other times, I go down with the familiarly sinking ship and I hate it. It is breaking me down in ways I cannot deny. My inner feminist screams “Doormat!” at me in tones of hatred, and self-contempt washes over me like a tsunami that then swamps my husband on an unsafe shore. My inner humanist shouts “Don’t you dare chicken out?” and then I try again to unlock the door he has lived behind for over four decades. My moribund inner Catholic whispers, ghost-like, “But you made a vow, you keep your promises?” and I simply weep in the dark.
Then I get up, re-stock my store of analogy and metaphor. I get off the mental floorboards telling myself I am not the victim unless I quit. I fight for myself and am accused of being the villain. But I’m not the villain, neither is he. I’m a feminist and humanist. I will free myself and in doing so, will tear down the lies that also keep him imprisoned. You see, in America – especially in my generation – there was the understanding that bad things happened only to bad people, or at least people who stupidly deserved what horrors happened to them? Wars, for example, are won against bad people who deserved to lose? Those who lose the wars are bad, right? This is the way it is taught by victors who win, no?
So, macrocosm and microcosm – if something bad happens it is because you are a loser who deserves it. Some terrible things happened. Children never deserve those terrible things, but if they are alone in the horror? They think they do and then because they are therefore “bad people” nobody that loves them can be good, because they don’t deserve it, you see? It forms a cycle of self-sabotage so one can never enjoy the good, the love. The person hurt has to recognize the hurt, admit the hurt, and defuse the bomb of “I must have been bad/I’m still bad/I should still hurt because I’m bad.” That is very, very hard.
I am a weirdo. A freak (“who shouldn’t exist” as I was told once) I am. I ask too many questions, I think too much. So MY bad things that happened did not make me think I was bad. They made me think the responsible parties were fucked UP. I largely managed to unfuck myself thereby. So for all those sure I am just a codependent weakling? No, I am, at worst, just a twit of a romantic still going back into that labyrinth to try leading the Minotaur OUT. It is painful and miserable for us both. I am sorry for us both. I am angry at both of us. I am fighting for both of us. I am choosing him every day. But yes, it makes me tired and sometimes despairing. So if I don’t have anything very edifying to say it is because I am tired and overwhelmed to see the same hurts everywhere I look, personal and public.
And I am lonesome. But still hopeful because I see other people armoring up, getting ready to fight. What I want for my husband and myself is what I want for my world: Some sustainable contentment and security, not going bankrupt or dying for lack of healthcare, not seeing children starve, or minorities and immigrants murdered or demonized. I want to find “my tribe” of fellow weirdo/freaks, to be honest. But then again, I don’t want to be in a tribal culture war. I want all of humanity to be humane. I am doing my best to live that ideal. I fail constantly, but I keep trying again.
But I am tired and feeling embattled. I cling to the idea of human nobility being possible, if not always probable. I may not be very entertaining in the meanwhile. Hey, tough shit – down in these trenches, the humor is rough and rare. I’m very much a die on my feet rather than live on my knees sort. It can make me very unpleasant. But I’m good to have on your side instead of against you, believe me. And so it goes…again and again.