How dare The Weather Channel change its format over the course of two decades?
I am reverting to old coping mechanisms.
By this, I mean The Weather Channel.
Before I started drinking in a way one might call “problematic,”
before I had a psychiatrist, a therapist, back when all I had for my anxiety
was ditch weed and cigarettes
I would watch The Weather Channel to fall asleep.
I remember sleepless hours in my dorm room on the shores of Lake Michigan,
rocking my fear to sleep with the repetition and monotony of incessant
weather reports. Simple graphics to “show” the type of sun/cloud coverage
predicted for the day.
“Predictions” always felt scary to me,
but weather predictions were cool.
Anyway. I went back to The Weather Channel yesterday
and I am sorry to report, The Weather Channel of 2021
is not The Weather Channel of 1999. How dare they change!
Now, The Weather Channel
is very loud and busy and has all these shows like
“The Most Disturbing Real Life Air Disasters of All Time in 3D!”
— and I’m sorry, but I do not need
that kind of negativity
in my life.
I’m kind of an emotional train wreck right now.
My sponsor tells me this is normal in the first 90 days of sobriety.
I have to feel all my feelings and I feel too much.
This is, probably, the quality that makes me a decent educator
and a decent writer. This is also, most certainly, the character defect
that makes me want to drink all the booze in the world. My feelings
are too big and too sloppy and too many.
I’m reading The Diary of Anne Frank with some of my seniors.
Most of them have never read it before, and I am re-reading
it for the first time in twenty years.
I was still, more or less, a kid when I last read this text.
Now? I notice small details — how at thirteen,
Frank observes her mother’s panic, her father’s grief, her sister’s terror —
sprinkles the particulars of this trauma
into ordinary 13 y/o fixations: boys, girls, grades, friends.
The 13 year old human brain is freakishly absorbent
where emotion is concerned.
At least, that’s my experience both as a former 13 y/o and
as an educator who sometimes works with this age group:
they feel all the feelings
all at once.
I think of Anne Frank.
I think of Adam Toledo.
Both child-victims of the horror
Terminally Broken Adults serve up.
I took two sick days this week.
I feel guilty every time I take a sick day —
even when I need the sick day as I needed
sick days (plural) this week. It’s funny,
we stress so hard about getting jobs with benefits
and PTO and then feel really fucking guilty
when we make use of the very things we trade
so much of our Actual Life for.
I also have been tapering off of the steroids
I had to take after my eyeball detached
(yes, it was “just” my retina; but “eyeball detachment”
sounds a little bit more precise in terms of how the experience
what the fuck even is a retina?
It’s like saying “My fibula detached.”
What do I look like?
Just say “eyeball” because everyone
knows what an eyeball is and if an eyeball “detaches”
that’s really fucking bad
Honestly, I’ve been through so much medical shit this year,
if Dr. W had said
“your eyeball has detached” I would have replied,
I’m lying. I’m not this stoic.
I was not stoic when my eyeball (retina) detached.
I was crying. I was sweating profusely and my teeth were chattering
like they do when my anxiety gets super out of hand.
The human body on excess anxiety
malfunctions. The teeth chatter, though I am not
cold. My lizard brain just doesn’t know how
to make my physical body respond to all
the fear, the pain.
I think I am about to “graduate”
from Step 2 in AA.
I couldn’t get on the Organized Religion God train,
but I think I have discovered, in this spiritual quest (barf),
that there is a concept of a “higher power”
that I can get behind without totally feeling
like some kind of fool.
I am learning, through meetings and friends,
that part of finding a “higher power” is about letting go
of your big fuckin’ ego. At least a little.
For control freaks like me, every letting go
is difficult. This is why I hate flying,
self-driving cars, and rollercoasters.
I used to fly often.
I hope to fly again.
In truth, I’m no longer afraid to fly. As a perma-cancer patient,
all of my fears outside of cancer feel pretty fucking dumb. Like
if I’m going to die in a plane crash, after all this bodily suffering,
then by all means Corporate Airline, take my life.
I would just be truly surprised. Such a surprise might also
come as a relief after all these months of “surprises” that now
just feel like wholly foreseeable nightmares.
Once I hit “publish” on this post
I’m forever going to be thinking I just Angela Lansburied myself
with that bit about dying in a plane crash.
Wasn’t that the storyline of “Murder She Wrote”
(my grandma loved that fuckin show; all grandmas of the 80s loved
that show)? Wasn’t it about a woman
of a certain vintage who wrote murder stories
and then the murders actually happened?
It was something like this.
My grandmother, not I,
was the intended audience;
story of my American life.