Spotify had a tough morning. She couldn’t read me, and I think she panicked. There was some Nine Inch Nails trailed by a jaunty little ditty by a bare footed songstress running through daffodil fields, or maybe it was alfalfa —and then I was “Just a Girl” and also a crooning Fiona Apple “Shadowboxer”. I had emo-whiplash. It’s a real thing, involving confusing pop culture intervention for processing complex hurt. It said, “Hey girl, I really want to help you but could you settle into a genre of grief for me? I know it’s early for the whole I wanna f*@K you thing. You haven’t even had a full Coke Zero yet. I appreciate your feedback on the barefoot girl. I get it —you want to trip her and watch her fall, so I’ve hit a nerve there. Gwen is righteous pissed but for the wrong reasons, and that is not going to help you. I am searching for a song that says “You’re reaching for silver linings and flowers growing from fields of death and suffering, but your energy is waning and you’re kind of mad about that guy who broke your heart and you’re second level mad that you’re mad because you are better than that and that is, well, maddening, oh and by the way, doesn’t it feel in this moment like the very foundation of your life is being ripped out from underneath you, winky face”.
Did your playlist choke today? Did it glitch? If so, I am personally sorry. My bad.
She was looking for a song that said “Screw you I loved you and you lied to my face and you didn’t have the courage to be honest and I have too much integrity to do anything but forgive you which I deeply believe in but also it feels like a curse today and also my Mom’s quality of life is 1/10 and she deserves so much more and also my kids are totally displaced by the world pandemic and I have five dependents and a dog to care for” but puhlease don’t tell anyone, shhhhhhhbecause I am ready for a new love, and I don’t want to scare him off. Dealio???? My secret’s safe with you and your bestie, right, oh and maybe your hairdresser and then just that one barista because she is so smiley and always makes sure you get the extra foam.
I want to say in my defense that I really am Daisy. That I will grow with joy toward the sun and I will soak up all the mofo light and I will shine it back at you, boy and girl and gender bending bitches because you are all my people and my life’s work, and it is true. But this morning there was all of this quicksand, muck, mire and BOG, bogging me down as bog is wont to do. Friggin’ bog. And I had a moment of “screw the daisies. Kill the daisies. Daisies MOCK my torment”. Sigh.
That can happen. Even to me. Whimper. I’m sharing because I believe in keepin’ it real.
That is when the dark humour comes out, from the bog, which smells like a stogie and a cheap bottle of Cuervo. I save it for my inner circle. I mean like, yes, of course you are my inner circle. But my inner, inner circle. The one you are not ready for. My sisters and I under the moonlight drinking tequila and resurrecting the dead (Practical Magic reference in case you missed it). And my bestie. She beats me at dark. She’s an Aquarius with a Scorpio Moon. WHAT? All the new age girls turn their heads and all the people with feelings quake in their boots and they should. Okay fine I will invite you next Blood moon when the roses are unfurling their dark wings in the ocean garden and the frogs are multiplying. I was planning to anyhow, geez.
I MUST KEEP IT REAL, so when I am asking you to do all that crazy stuff I ask you to do to fix your shit, you’re just gonna know in your bones that there is a path back to that Daisy and I can water witch it.
I will say this much. It SUCKS to feel powerless. Anger is something I call a secondary emotion. It is hurt, plus powerlessness. And man, some folks out there are super great at making us feel that secondary emotion. Some conditions of the World are super amazing at making us feel sad. Just so very sad. And helpless to have a voice, to be seen for our truth, to be loved as we should be loved. Sometimes we are held under water to test our innocence, if we drown we are sinless and if we live we are hanged for being a witch. Or we are simply tortured into confessing our guilt, and then burned at the stake for it. It’s a neat system and it feels pretty super duper when it’s you and you have no control over the narrative. One minute you’re the hero doing all the heroic things like loving with your little red heart on your sleeve and the next you are on trial and the jury’s hissing and you are praying to your black cat to share a few of her extra lives. No one will even listen to the basic fact that if you were a witch they’d have never made it to the court room alive, like DUH *chews gum with open mouth and rolls eyes* and that also if they believe that mean girl gossip then maybe they should like think twice about killing you, oh my gawd #cursemewithaspoon. Sometimes the very assault to the intellect is worse than the complete ruin.
My goodness gracious Friends. I don’t want that for you! I don’t want you to feel one itsy bitsy spider worth of that shitty bottom of the barrel feeling. I am mad about that. I am mad that you have to be ground into the dust and dirt that chokes your words. I am even quoting my own song lyrics right now circa pre-Covid for those of us who can remember back that far.
The truth is that The World and its favourite Villains and Players are playing out some kind of pain in action. I know it. I really know it. I KNOW that it doesn’t help you to defend yourself, or to retaliate. I know that Karma is a pale comfort, because we don’t really want to meet suffering with more suffering. I know it professionally and personally and historically and presently and emotionally and spiritually and intellectually. But this morning I just want one of those movie moments when they get theirs and are stopped from doing super bad mean nasty things to really good witches who don’t deserve it and really loved them. Today I just want a happy fucking ending already.
But then in that same moment I take it all back and I just want to pack them a lunch with a loving note and tell them how I understand how it all fell apart for them because I am wired to love and forgive and heal, blah blah blah, Lassie blah.
And this is how we get stuck.
Anger is fair and reasonable and you know what? It is also NOTHING. By which I mean like every other emotion it communicates a message. It can’t be RIGHTEOUS. We don’t ever neeeeed to get in touch with our anger. It isn’t precious or an answer to weakness. It doesn’t come in a kit with healthy boundaries and it certainly doesn’t include a free dose of enlightenment for the person place or thing that screwed us. Ain’t that a shame? BUT we also can’t will it out of existence.
Anger is a cry for love.
It’s a cry for a voice.
It’s a cry against oppression.
Anger heralds a lie.
And that lie says “You have power over me”. You have the power to decide my guilt. You have the power to control the narrative. You have the power to steal, hurt, wrong.
If there was no way out of the ways we create and recycle pain, if pain was absolute and I was sitting her in my Mom’s bedroom while she goes through so much of it, and I didn’t KNOW otherwise, the way we know experientially, then I would throw my hands up and my gauntlet down.
But friends, beloveds, hearts of my pissed off little heart, it’s not the truth.
One time when I was pregnant and camping with a toddler in 40 degree heat (no it was not planned, the pregnancy nor the trip where I found out I was pregnant by becoming nauseous and intolerant of heat) I went into the campground camping store to buy my toddler a popsicle, only to find out before leaving the store that the popsicle, one of those long spirally ones, was broken close to the base and impossible for the toddler to hold. I waited in line a second time to explain and the woman there said to me “Sorry you can’t exchange it because I can’t sell that if it’s broken”. “Yes,” I retorted, “you should not be selling it to me, because it’s broken”. Rinse and repeat this chat a few times over and watch my face redden. To my credit, sick to my stomach and with a frustrated toddler and raging hormones, I did not jump over the counter and take a bitch down. She was never going to see. Because of what she had going on in her noggin’ I was never going to be seen or heard, have my basic impeccable logic understood, let alone experience the justice I so justly deserved. I am not so sure this would make me angry today. I’d buy another popsicle and enjoy my child and forgive the idea that this person was wrong or stupid. I would throw them, in my mind toward the heavens in a gesture of ‘this is not for me to fight against’.
But sometimes a popsicle is a heart or a life and sometimes our endurance is just maxed out.
And so if you are angry, I am going to suggest that first you give a voice to the anger. Let it tell you how much it hurts, that he saw it all wrong, that her pain made her cruel, that the goddamned World doesn’t understand, that you had love or joy pried like a teddy bear out of your ruddy chubby little fingers. Don’t fight it and please let me help you not get LOST in the Bermuda Triangle of the nine thousand seven hundred sixty three ways to ineffectively affect justice. Because NOTHING justifies pain and loss and no attempts at affecting justice solve for the unconscious fear that we deserve the injustice, that we are somehow to blame.
Say it all. Write it all down. Scream it all out (where no one can hear you). Email me I have a release exercise I can give you. Hell I will scream it with you.
Tell your story to someone who unconditionally supports you. Tell them the parts that sting. The maddening shitty awful shake your fists and flail parts. Call me up, I will listen. Write it down for me, I’ll read it.
Break my heart and make me cry. With your storytelling I mean, don’t break up with me because you are uncomfortable with uncomfortable feelings, please, I am so over that! Share your heart ache and I will wrap around your hurt until you know it was never you. It was never you. Because my heart was made for all of that bending and wrapping. It’s home there.
If you’re a poet, render it with beauty. Sing me the song. I would be honoured to listen to your song. The irony is that the one who “oughtta know” is probably the only one who doesn’t, but you, Alanis and I can sing it at the top of our lungs, we hope you feel it!
And then ANSWER THAT CRY FOR LOVE WITH LOVE. Whatever that might mean for you in the moment and from that moment to the next. Reach for it. Ask for it. Move in the general direction of it even if your eyes are blurred from non-waterproof mascara or Axe body spray and sweat, and you can’t see East. Put down your weapon. A popsicle stick isn’t going to make the annals of history, “Joan”.
The secret is we love our villains. Because we are made of love. And we can’t snuff that out in ourselves and we don’t want to. So let’s stop trying to simultaneously kill them and save them already and exhausting ourselves in invisible battle.
I already know you’re a witch baby. But you’re the GOOD kind. So climb down from that pyre.
Come over to my garden next Blood moon with some spirits, or a hearty Cabernet.
There is no poetry in justice, but there is justice in poetry.
And you, Love, are the poetry.
— Love Erin
P.S. You’ve been asking me how to get your friends and loved ones the help I’ve been able to give you. We can do that. Contact me and we’ll talk details.
P.P.S. One of the kindest things you can do for me is to share my writing. If you enjoyed today’s Monday Musing and know someone else who would pleaseforward it to a friend.