I am usually operating on a pretty even keel. As a 9 on the Enneagram, that's actually really central to my sense of well-being: being unaffected by life. That's how I am comfortable. SO: I am working on taking risks (not life-threatening ones!), allowing myself to get really excited, really hopeful, and (gasp!) really angry. It's not always easy.
Anger, in particular, is very frightening for me. I didn't learn to feel or use it in healthy ways, growing up. Angry meant "not nice" and I was a nice girl. In my 20's, a therapist suggested Harriet Lerner's brilliant book, The Dance of Anger. "But I'm not angry," I said. He said, "yeah, and that's why you need to read this."
Not shockingly, I read that whole book (I am eminently compliant as a patient) and recognized NOTHING in it of myself.
I guess I had to get some years on me.
So, now, at 49, with the years and a bit of Enneagram work, I am reading the book again. And it's all about me.
The nutty: yesterday was stressful. I felt overloaded and a little panicked, and unsure of myself. I felt worried. The news is disaster. The murder in Houston of Rev. Israel Ahimbisibwe, his wife and young son. So many things.
I got home at about 8:30, and my husband was watching the news about the death of Muath Al-Kasaesbeh, the Jordanian Air Force pilot who was burned alive by ISIS.
The station that was on had an anchor who'd watched the whole video narrating it; he was clearly deeply, deeply shocked. Then the station showed one still from the murder. I didn't see it, because by the time that came on, I had my fingers in my ears and my eyes closed. I got up and left the room.
I don't feel that I should have looked at that, or that I shirked anything by doing so. I think we need to refuse to look at it, in fact. Know about it, yes. Look at it, no. That's what THEY want us to do.
But the depravity and misery and inhumanity of the world sometimes rushes in so fast and so fully that I am swept away, with anger and fear and rage and grief, and I try to escape.
I tried to dissolve myself by reading Facebook. By reading a silly crime novel. By riding my exercise bike. Finally, by eating a pickle sandwich with mustard (long time childhood favorite go-to food). I am trying not to let food be my comfort, but sometimes there it is.
I read something recently that said, when we are despairing of the bad in the world, we are forgetting about God. So I sat still and tried to find God. I thought of God coming to Anne Lamott's houseboat and quietly sitting in the corner of the room, after her abortion. Surely, if God was there for Anne, God was there for me.
I went to bed. Today I got up. There are trees on the way to work, and I see them because I am walking to work these days. I walk by and touch the trees as I go. It helps to ground me.
Today is a new day.