Over on Facebook, an old friend of mine took the occasion of Easter to announce to her world that Christ is dead and he’s staying dead for her–she’s not a Christian anymore. I laughed. Just the audacity of it delighted me. I always thought she had an inner “drive through town in a convertible with both middle fingers raised” desire, but I was still surprised to see her doing it.
For the first time in my life, I’m not going to Easter services. My middle brother is up in Illinois with his family and my parents. The Butcher is with his family. I can stay home and no one will notice.
What I talked about with the therapist was that it’s not just that I think I have a lot of anger that manifests itself as anxiety, it’s that I often don’t know when I’m angry until I’m super pissed. But more than that, more upsetting to me than that, is that I don’t know how to feel happy at the same magnitude that I feel anger or upset or hurt. I would like for happiness to linger the same ways for me and to come back up when I least expect it, the way all my hurts do.
I’ve said as much here. But admitting it out loud was terrible. And yet, here I am, today, with nothing to do. I already turned in my Pith post. The dishes are done. I vacuumed. I can do anything today that would make me happy. And I don’t know what to do. Which is not to say that things don’t make me happy. But I often don’t know if something will make me happy until I do it. It’s hard for me to plan for it.
I mostly achieve happiness by working hard to avoid sorrow or upset.
You know, I also wonder if this is a problem in my writing. A lot of my stories are about women reacting to things (or sometimes men). A situation develops. The characters respond. They deal with things. That’s the central drama in a lot of my stories. A thing has happened. Can it be dealt with?
It’s hard for me to imagine how stories go when they start “They decided to do a thing. What will happen next?” Because it’s hard for me to imagine deciding things.
Anyway, after therapy and before the movie, I went out to try to find a cemetery someone told me about and I ended up on a winding road with a drop-off on the side, one of my least favorite things in the world. And yet, instead of a voice in my head screaming, “Holy shit! You can’t do this. You’re going to die.” because of what we’d talked about, I said to myself “You are fine and you can do this.” Over and over. And I did. No symptoms of panic. No panic attack.
It seems simple really. What I want is to be able to do the things I want to do and to not do the things I don’t want to do. And yet, I’m going to have to figure out how to decide what I want and don’t want.
So, I admire the decisiveness of the friend who’s just like, “You guys, Christ is dead and gone,” on Easter weekend. And her willingness to deal with the fallout that comes from deciding to do something and following through with it.