Do you ever have so much stuff rolling around inside your head that it (your head) begins to pulsate with throbbing rhythms? Here I am, five weeks or so out from the end of the semester and all I’m thinking about are finals and essays and memorization (I hate trying to memorize stuff at my age). At the same time, I have a head full of writing topics that I want to get down on the screen in front of me. Still, I can’t organize it well enough to spit it out. Not quite writer’s block but more like roadblock.
Aging, mass shootings, weight gain and loss, MAGA mania, 2024 election, COVID-19 (yes, that’s still a thing), graduation next year with only 15 units to go, applying for graduate school in the fall, kitchen remodel, fantasies of summer vacation, my outdoor cat is dying, the crazy weather, I don’t want to call myself Latinx, the world seems to be going to shit, violent videos on Facebook, the lack of empathy, everyone is fighting, rudeness, my granddaughter’s smile, the peacefulness of an empty beach, creeping fascism, it’s always about power, don’t shoot, do I need to buy a gun, are we really better than this………………………………………………
This and a million other stuff rattle around in my head all day and a lot at night. I wake myself up in the middle of a bad dream having a conversation with someone while in that middle state between consciousness and sleep. I can hear myself talking but can’t quite understand the words so I can remember what happened when I wake up at 5 o’clock for the day in front of me. Weird.
There are so many stories to tell, but I don’t quite see the words yet. Only symbols, scribblings across my brain, smoke signals in my eyes, sounds like gibberish, hazy visions, distant memories trying their best to dig themselves out of that bottomless pit somewhere at the bottom of my brain.
The running joke in my family is something my brother Joey said once, and I’m paraphrasing here: “I have an opinion, and I’m going to express it.” It was a statement made in reaction to someone trying to tell him to keep his opinion to himself, or at least that’s how I remember it. I feel like that often. I have an opinion about everything, but in my case, no one is trying to shut me down. My problem is always about finding the time. And there’s probably a little hesitation about whether anyone cares what I have to say. Not that it would stop me. I pretty much don’t give a shit what people think about what I think these days. Not sure at what age I developed that thinking, but I do know it is increasingly becoming my anthem.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I want to be sensitive and not insult or offend people. I’m not going to shout the N-word in the middle of Times Square or call someone a name to their face about their appearance or intellectual capacity or any of a long list of possible insults. I might say it under my breath or behind their backs if I’m angry enough at them, but I’m more about picking winnable battles these days and measuring and storing my energy for more critical wars ahead.
And speaking of wars, do you sometimes feel we’re headed toward a civil war in this country? Or is it just good television that makes me think that? Seriously? Like Housewives of Beverly Hills or Basketball Wives or every Karen and Ken video that I see these days where someone can’t seem to control themselves or mind their own business and decides that lashing out at anyone in their field of vision is the appropriate response to their relationship with their neighbor or friend or any stranger they come upon.
We, humanity, seem to be getting on each other’s nerves these days. I can’t help but think we all are having a nervous breakdown. A breakdown of standards of politeness, empathy, sympathy, civility, decorum, tolerance, and live and let live. Why is everyone so intent on being the judge, jury, and executioner? Who died and made them the arbiter of truth and justice? Seriously?
Back to those semi-conscious conversations that I’ve been having at night. I vaguely remember that I’m usually in the middle of an argument with someone in a dream/nightmare, and I’m trying to make a point, and they’re not listening. The only way I can get my point across is to shout louder than they’re speaking, and then they raise their voice higher, and then I raise my voice so loud that I kick myself out of that dream into this twilight state, not quite asleep nor quite awake. The point is that’s how I’m beginning to feel about walking around and having arguments, usually with myself, about what is happening worldwide. This nervous breakdown I mentioned. It’s just not a good way to look at the world.
I tell my friend Thomas he’s the optimist, and I’m the pessimist. That happens when you study the history of humans on this earth (or maybe I’m projecting from my own life). Whatever. The truth is that life is what it is, and you must find your safe passage through it and your safe peace in it if you want to live a longer life, not locked away in a padded room or a coffin.
Yeah, that’s not what I want to do. I have plans for life 75+, so I’ll keep thinking and pondering and analyzing the world outside and inside of me and write about it and how I feel about it and know that this is the best therapy for me, even as I wish the entire world would get some therapy.
It’s all cool. In the meantime, I have some school homework to do.