“I’ve never been happy cause everything I Ever did was wrong.”– Carl Perkins
It can be overwhelming when it feels like the walls are closing in. My morning routine has me quickly cementing what is going to end up going in these spaces. Sometimes the news from the day or days before makes it obvious. I come in search of a song lyric I know and the paragraphs suddenly take shape around it.
I have no earthly clue whether that is a normal writing process or not. I’m so used to watching students stare at a blank paper hanging on in quiet desperation. We try to outfit them with graphic organizers, mnemonic devices, and other aids that can help them plan something out. Those things always just happened somewhere in the recesses of my mind.
Once the writing starts it really doesn’t stop. I don’t have a word count here, but I have a general idea of how long someone’s attention span is. For my other site, I have a more specific benchmark, so I take what I do here and further cull it until something leaner and meaner comes out.
Today, no news stories were rushing to mind. So, instead I looked back on the week and discovered that a lot of heavy stuff was going on. There is the news that Russia had invaded Ukraine. There was the news that the governor wants me to turn transgender teens into child protective services. In the background, you had the news that the governor knew about the electricity crisis last winter and decided profits were more important than everyday Texans.
Meanwhile, it’s primary season for Republicans and Democrats. The dread is palpable. There is only reason why someone like Abbott would throw vulnerable teenagers and their parents under the bus. There is only reason why he would suddenly talk about border security and an invisible crime wave. He must convince his base that he’s the man for the job when his opponents are a collection of mixed nuts.
Sane people hold their breath and hope that no one really crazy comes out of the process. That is how we got Dan Patrick. Now, there are people that don’t consider him crazy enough. Fear, fatigue, and despair hit when you realize that there is a combination of news stories and few in office that seem to have the collective wisdom to dispense with them. Heck, some of those news stories are completely invented whole cloth. They can’t dispense with something they created for the purpose of justifying their existence.
Psychologists tell us that there is typically a fight or flight response. When things become overwhelming we rage against the dying of the light or we isolate ourselves on our own island of despair. Those can manifest themselves physically or symbolically. We can physically run away or we can run away into the recesses of our own mind.
I can’t speak for anyone else. I cannot offer any pearls of wisdom. I can only extend an olive branch that I completely understand being overwhelmed. We are all seeing things we never dreamed possible. That even includes the other side. In our most vulnerable moments we are capable of the very best or worst of humanity. The most horrible things are often a direct result of fear that is very real and very manipulated.
In the face of so much hate, fear, and loathing we can often see our humanity twisted into something we can’t recognize. Coping with enormous stress offers few good choices. We do what we have to do to survive. I can’t promise everything will be okay. I can only hope that enough people come to their senses and do the next decent thing so we can all escape from this nightmare.