Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Tilting At Windmills
So this past week I have had two major anxiety attacks. So major that they required a double dose of anti-anxiety meds to knock them back, and even that took twice as long as usual.
I feel like I am not meant for this world sometimes. It seems like all of the vibrations in the universe travel across the plane of existence and settle in my bones. It's too much, too overwhelming: the pain, the sadness, even the happiness sometimes. I remember cowering undeneath a seat at a Washington Bullets game when I was young, maybe six, covering my ears and crying as everyone around me roared their approval at a come-from-behind victory.
The hate spewed online and seething below the surface of many interactions this past week in Baltimore has been unbearable. As the news about Freddie Gray unfolded, changing from weeks of peaceful protest and calls for action to two nights of violence and rioting, I scrolled Twitter obsessively.
This week, I have deleted my subscription to multiple news outlets and blocked several "rebuild Baltimore" groups on Facebook. I am contemplating deleting my Facebook page altogether and archiving my Twitter feed.
Maybe it is cowardice that forces me to take actions to protect myself, but I am really struggling to cope with what is going on in this city and the deep history of racism and discord and the massive leaps of faith it will require to change, leaps of faith that I am not ultimately sure the bulk of humanity is capable of making. Certainly not many residents in Baltimore, when many in the northern neighborhoods recite standard white privilege mantras ("I can't believe they destroy their own neighborhoods!") and in southern and western neighborhoods where crime unrelated to the unrest has seen a spike as police and National Guard forces were engaged in concentrated areas of the city.
Tilting at windmills. Spitting in the wind. Bailing out the ocean with a teaspoon.
That's how changes feels. Impossible.
I am breathing. I go to yoga. I am trying to sleep (on an air mattress with a hole that lands me hovering above the floor by the time my alarm goes off in the morning, but a mattress is coming in less than two weeks so I suck it up). I write down what I am grateful for (and there is so much), but the world seeps into my skin through my pores, and I can't stop it.
I dream nearly constantly of the ocean, a beach with the water in front of me and no sound but the wind and the waves. No people, nothing electronic, nothing, just the sand and the water and the wind. You can't take a vacation from yourself, as much as you try (my early 20s proved that to me), but I am struggling to find equilibrium in the city. I am nesting in the nearly-finished rehab, and it feels like I am building a fortress. This can't be healthy, but it feels necessary.
What do you do when it's too much?
(as an aside, I am not writing anymore on the ways in which Baltimore needs to be fixed. I have three other blogs on the subject but just have to step back. Part 1 and part 2 are still up. For now.)