Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Unrelated Rage

A childhood friend of J's wrote an essay in the local news paper about why he was walking out of school today. I have known of this kid for many years though we never met. Reading his essay made me cry. The pain felt raw and real in his words; he was able to inflict it upon the reader. While being in awe of this young person for being such a powerful writer, I was ashamed to be among the millions of adults who have failed our collective kids. He had not minced words in calling us out. 

How do I now deal with this toxic mix of grief, rage and shame that hits me every time I read something about this topic ? I don't discuss with other parents who for their part don't bring it up either. We find our safe space in such forced amnesia by implied consent. Today at school as tributes were read for the victims, our kids cried. Yet, we go about our days like nothing changed. We discuss plans for summer, their driver's license test, how they were grounded for staying out past curfew, the big soccer game coming up, the impending empty nest, how braces cost an arm and leg and their smile is still crooked. 

We cling to every shred of "normal" like so many talismans to keep our kids out of harm's way. We hope they will live to have families, careers and the American Dream. We try not to dwell upon the tragedy and find ways to move on. We pretend this is the best most positive way and there is no value in dwelling on past that cannot be changed. Mostly we feel powerless. Those parents and families had many dreams too. Tragedy is now an inedible stain in their lives they will never be able to wash away.

In Marie Kondo's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she talks about how people in times of extreme stress try to subconsciously fix what is wrong at the root by frantically cleaning and de-cluttering. I must have been doing just that later in the afternoon unable to process the difficult emotions I experienced reading that essay. I decided to vacuum the second floor to calm down. It was a bad idea because I happen to own one of these cruel jokes of a machine. It exists in my house only to taunt my spectacular lack of mechanical ability.

Once I take it apart, I cannot for the life of me put it back together. So if I need to remove the dust from the bag-less innards of this torture device after the second room, I am screwed. Who are these people that are giving this thing a 4 star rating ? Am I the world's greatest retard that can't put this thing back together but everyone else can ?  I am filled with self-doubt and rage that rise in huge alternating waves as I try in vain to finish the job that I started. Did they have even a single woman on the design team when they build this household appliance ? I am cussing like a sailor at the machine and J is doing her best to ignore me. She knows of my bad relationship with this vacuum cleaner over the years and that its best to stay away. In the past, her attempts to help me assemble it did not end well for either of us. It assumed symbolic importance for unresolved and unrelated disputes we may have had at the time.

I will resume this task another day when I have less need to transfer rage from one hopeless place to another. 

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