Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Never You Mind

(Just a couple of disclaimers, one: this entry is not for the faint of heart.  Two: many lines in this entry are inspired and paraphrased from a many of musical artists that a dear friend of mine recently burned for me as an encouragement for these hard times I’ve been facing.  Music, does have a many healing powers – at least I believe so.  And so, I cannot take complete credit for this entry.)

“Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.” 
― Maya Angelou

It’s often said that anger is just anger. It’s neither good. It’s neither bad. It just is. What you do with it is what matters. It's like anything else. You can use it to build or to destroy. You just have to make the choice.  Well, it was brought to my attention through a friend that I might be projecting my anger of my current situations. 

Truth be told, I know I am.  And I’m not just angry, I’m pissed and enraged; I’m one or two mishaps (depending on the day or my time of the month) from blowing a fuse.  It’s not like me, and I know it.  Try as I may to shake it off though, this anger is proving to be a stubborn parasite.     

Well in the mist of this parasitical anger I was reminded of another dime a dozen self- help books my grandparents gifted me after I graduated from high school. Through reading page after page (years ago) I learned all kinds of “truths” that I have truthfully rejected about the idea of anger’s opposite – happiness.  Like, happiness is a choice.  In part sure, but in all circumstances you can’t help but feel angry or sad – it’s natural to feel that way, so excuse me if I’m not perky, cheerful and optimistic given my circumstances!  Or another “truth” like it’s my moral or social obligation to be happy around anyone and everyone.  Surly, I’m not going to be a hot mess throughout my day, but there is only so much of a façade I can paint. 

Through silent car rides and conversations gone ape shit, I’ve deduced that this parasitic anger is a result of my circumstances that are truly out of my control. Watching my dad face and battle a kind of terminal cancer – outta my control.  An unexpected diagnosis of amnesia had by my sister and all the implications that come with it – yup outta my control.  Knowing I need to be home and available to a certain degree to my family, but still living in the trenches of what that reality is – to an extent outta my control, but I know I can’t simply run away and abandon what that is.  Frustrating? Tiresome?  You can’t believe how much it is. 

Somewhere in between dealing with the cancer battles, and taking care of my sister, or feeling tired and unsatisfied from this hamster wheel, or craving a space of my own, I’ve lost my joy; I’ve lost who I am.  And I don’t know how to get back to where I once was.  That, and this, is what has made me so irate. 

Thus from where I sit, people (be it I ask or not) have felt the need to prescribe their philosophical therapy of wisdom.  Some of which is welcomed (you know who you are), but some of which is not.  And I’m tired of the unwelcomed “wisdom,” because if all it is, is cliché mantras, and fortune cookie advice, save your breath!  It’s not doing anything for me!  If anything it’s more insulting, that my struggles would be reduced to something so simplistic.   

I don’t wanna hear you say that this will all make sense some day!  Cuz it doesn’t help me today. 

I don’t wanna hear you say that I should unite my sufferings with Christ’s sufferings!  Cuz his suffering happened more than two millennia ago, and mine are today, right now. 

I don’t wanna hear you say that my anger and sadness is a choice! Cuz sometimes a silver lining isn’t enough to make the wrongs seem right. 

Spare me the tough love talk of starving and dying kids in Africa, and how they’re able to retain their happiness!  Cuz, what deep pain are you holding right now that you can begin to compare to mine, that would justify you pulling the Africa card on me?!

Surly, there’s that great God in the sky saying, “you got to come on up! You got to hold on. You got to wait.”  To which I say, very simply,” I don’t wanna wait.  I got so much to do, I ain’t got much time.”  If it’s always darkest before the dawn, I must insist and persist; how long is that darkest?

Can you tell there’s a lot of anger in me right now?  Good.  Now, as it were, all my ranting begs a certain question.  How can anyone truly comfort those who morn, weep, cry, or suffer from anger of a situation, such as myself? 

For starters, don’t feel obligated to “fix,” those who morn or suffer, at least not right away.  Just give me a bit of your time.  That does a world of good.  You can’t imagine how many people have told me, to my face no less, “oh, I’ve been meaning to call you, your mom, your dad; or go see them for that matter.”  Well then go and do it.  What’s stopping you?  And if you think telling me all your empty should’ve(s) would’ve(s) could’ve(s) make anything, any better, you’re mistaken.  For many it’s a thirty car pile-up.  And when I start to question, they throw their little hands up.  So just stop.  Actions versus empty broken record words, talk is cheap; ‘nuff said. 

Another thing, do me a favor: minimize the hard realities.  Tell me bad news comes, and say don’t you worry, even when it lands.  Cuz good news will work its way to all them plans.  We’ll float on; good news is on the way.  And we’ll all float on, okay?  Show me some kindness and remind me that we’ll always have each other; each other’s friendship – a real kind of friendship.  Say that the better part of me is lost, but only for now. 

And yes, I’ll be the first to admit I’m stuck in a moment, and I just can’t seem to get outta it.  And if only for a little while, I can just leave my worries in the corner, ignore them for a moment, leave then in a big pile and find a simple distraction, I’ll be okay.   Help me to just laugh it off, okay?

So in the meantime, or in between time I’ll simply fix my mind on that crystal day.  Hard times ain’t gonna rule my mind; or so I try.  So for now, I try to look to the positive, and work to look past my worries, and just tread water.   

And so it goes, if you are unfortunate enough to ask me that dreaded “comforting” question: how’s the family?; or your quick fix one liners slip their way to me; or your unwarranted philosophical wisdom comes my way, I might just reply, “never you mind!” 

“Anybody can become angry — that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not within everybody's power and is not easy.” ― Aristotle

Some parts of this entry inspired by the following musical artists:  LCD Soundsystem, Modest Mouse, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Alabama Shakes, Incubus, Florence + the Machine, De La Soul, Yo La Tengo, Gillian Welch, Creed.  


  1. thanks for an insight into your feelings, Barbara. it is powerful to read what is really going on... your suffering is deep and seemingly endless... in an essence, all that has happened, well it just sucks.
    know that i am thinking of you and your family right now, that i will pray for you before i go to sleep tonight... and i hope that the right support comes your way...
    love, crissy & boulder (tailwags)

  2. You have all the right to be angry right now. I'm proud of you for being so honest on what it feels like to deal with these circumstances. I'm praying that you are comforted and strengthened friend.