I woke up this morning feeling relatively calm. Then I burst into sudden tears.
That’s not unusual these days.
I want to FIX everything. And I can’t. I am so freaking frustrated and overwhelmed.
The shitshow that is 2020 is triggering childhood trauma, big time. When I was little, I was surrounded by abuse, addiction, and mental illness. I felt overwhelmed, scared, confused, and powerless. I somehow decided it was my job to fix it all, and when I couldn’t, I felt frustrated. Like a big failure.
Feelings that are very familiar these days.
Just yesterday I told my wife Kate how proud I was of the great advice I recently gave to my siblings, to focus on the things we can control, and let go of the rest.
That was yesterday. This morning I’m a sobbing mess because I’m outraged and heartbroken at the ongoing, traumatizing injustices instigated by our government, and frustrated that I can’t FIX ANY OF IT.
Kate held me tight as I cried on her shoulder. Then she rummaged through her drawer of cards (she seems to have one for every occasion) and handed me this:
It made me laugh. It helped me remember: I may not be able to control the outcome of the election, but I can send postcards to get out the vote. I can’t undo hundreds of years of racism, but I can work on dismantling my own biases. I can’t comfort everyone who’s hurting, but I can check in on my neighbors and friends.
I can’t go back in time to prevent the child I was from being hurt, but I can go inward to that hurt child inside me. The part that feels scared, and small, and silenced. I can reassure her that even though the world is really challenging, she no longer has to deal with it alone.
I’m there for her. We’ll face it together. We’ll do what we can, and let go of the rest.
One day at a time.