I suppose there are stages to grief.
At least that’s what everyone tells me.
You’re sad and don’t understand, then you’re angry, then you forgive, then you move on.
There is some truth in that, no doubt. I guess mine are less stages, than a ‘day in, day out’ account of what I choose to live in. I’d like to say I am a peaceful sea, with the occasional storm. But right now, I have these churning waters deep down in my belly. I’m angry for the choices that were taken away from me.
I realize my privilege in all of this. It could be a lot worse. But when I think about those people, I feel bad too. It’s safe to say that I carry a lot. For myself, and for others. My own grief is this new thing I’ve had to deal with. Generally, I am a peaceful dude who wants to give so much to others.
I remember writing a while back, that I felt strong. And I suppose I still do, but it looks different today. I think anger is important. If it wasn’t for anger, nothing would change. People used to get angry that they were cold all the time, so they figured out how to make fire.
I think there’s a lot in that.
I’m angry that I have to voice my opinion on matters I never wanted to — that people will eat me up whenever they want, because that’s what people do. Prey on the weak. Fire off wild assumptions based on an observation.
I’m angry that I have to have something to say. Being quiet was, and still is my weapon of choice.
I make loud people uncomfortable by being quiet, and vice versa.
But that will shift, as it all will.
What I always try to believe, is that feeling what you’re feeling is important. So, whatever, I just need to be angry sometimes. My ‘fixer’ personality will fail every time if I try to work against my anger by saying it’s not real. That I just need to cheer up.
Sometimes, words can fix it, other days, it’s a random interaction.
I went to get gas last night, because for one, I needed some fresh air. And also, my gas light was on, as it is most days. (Kidding, sort of.)
In Oregon, you aren’t allowed to pump your own gas. I don’t know why. Maybe jobs? Sure, let’s say jobs.
Anyways, it’s kind of nice. Though it makes me feel so lazy.
There is an older man who pumps my gas from time to time. As I rolled down my window, I passed him my card and we went along as we usually do. Then, he paces a few times and says, “Well, you’re not gonna see me for the next five days!” I respond, “Oh yeah? Why’s that?”
“Goin’ on vacation. That’s right. Been two years. Me and my girl are headin’ up to Spokane to visit some friends, then we’re gonna go down to Astoria and stay with another friend. Yeah, it’s been a while, I’m real excited..”
And I loved this interaction. Because normally we don’t talk, and I just know he wanted me to share in his excitement, even if I didn’t directly benefit from it. He is what I call “salt of the earth” — a refreshing dose of reality in the midst of my roommates getting angry because I said something bad about Pabst Blue Ribbon.
I was so genuinely happy for him. I can imagine saving up for two years, this will be a much needed vacation for him. It was like seeing a kid get excited about Christmas.
I suppose I hold fast to those experiences, when the world slows down and I am allowed an honest to goodness conversation where I am able to look someone in the eye and listen. Usually, I’m on defense because it’s what I have to do sometimes.
But the best times, when I feel most comfortable, are when I have to say nothing at all and the other person is okay with me. I realize that’s a lot to ask these days, but I crave it. I crave to be known again with the people I live my life with. Some have faded and abandoned, and other things take its place. I am angry at that sometimes, but I move with it, because like everything else, I have to.
Being angry is about reason and circumstance. Its main purpose is for you to react, like some chemical. But how you react is important. A lot of bad stuff happens, but also, a lot of important stuff happens.
I suppose I’m somewhere in between. Feeling it out. Wondering where it will all end up.
As for now, I will take a walk and stretch my legs.
I will think about the gas station man, and his trip to Spokane with his girl,
I will notice myself as I breathe and move.
because deep down I know,
something bigger is on its way.