For Karen, The Harbinger
But baby I’ve been here before,
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor
You know, I used to live alone before I knew ya
And I’ve seen your flag on the Marble Arch
And love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
Here it is: Your permission have a good cry.
If you’ve been like me, you’ve been spending the last few years (and a most of your life) holding out hope. You’ve been working your ass off, fighting the good fight.
You’ve been making signs. You’ve been knitting pussy hats and walking in marches. You have been walking all kinds of super-fine lines. One that has been most exhausting (it’s ok to cry about that here) is training the men you love most in the wide world to be woke, to be allies, to fucking SHOW UP at the marches and to use the hashtags.
To commit, after all.
So I give to you permission– in the aftermath of the last three years — to just lay down and CRY.
Like Karen in “Love, Actually,” we find ourselves not only fighting, but just plain living the good fight. Wasting our lives building the beautiful senseless nativity lobster… only to be rewarded with Joanie Mitchell boxed up under the tree, tagged with the sweet mansplanation –> “to further your emotional education.”
LET IT ALL OUT.
Because Greta Thunberg. Because frozen drowning Nebraska farms. Because #meToo may might just as well mean “female”.
Because we’ve been screaming and crying and asking for centuries from our partners for help. And we’ve been cut open, drowned, burned, used and re-used and just plain tossed in the trash.
Our screams are now just the sound of the wind.
The Existential Case for Crying
Science reveals that crying releases healing chemicals in our body. And I while most of us feel better after a good cry, I argue that there’s no room in our lives for the long jagged edge of everyday grief.
When I moved away from Connecticut, I hardly cried. I had hope and dreams: hope that being closer to my family would finally relieve me of some of the stresses of this family life. That returning to open horizons of the Midwest would provide a salve for my soul. I could finally relax when I see my reflection in a place and space that understood me.
After 18 months and failed anti-depressants, I finally give up hope.
I’ve entered into the realization: no help is coming.
It’s not fair to ask my sisters (though I do).
They are already buried.
So that leaves no one.
The Illusion of This Place
I stopped crying when the kids came to live with us.
I had to put down that selfishness! Depression has no place here. I turned it into mighty-righteous (mostly angry) mom energy.
I couldn’t come to terms with my needs while also solving the puzzle of the shared calendar. Also… I was writing and re-writing the recipe of my children’s moral consciousness.
And in the meantime, there was also ongoing task of training men to be woke. This is very hard to do from this distance.
This is because we don’t even occupy the same space.
This Woman’s Work
“Women’s work” isn’t merely the drudgery of familial tasks. Like Karen, we decide to set our minds on the emotional work at some point. Meanwhile, Harry is at the office, not trying very hard to fend off Mia … not worrying a bit about the woman and the lobster nativity children.
Ask our woke-ish partners where they are on their training. They are exactly where we left them.
We are prisoners of Otherland — a place that often is as sweet and invisible as Seahaven Island — but just as limiting.
We can’t leave. We don’t have dual citizenship.
It’s OK. Eventually we all come to love our captors. That’s what is called survival.
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya
It’s not somebody who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
Did you know?
Patty Hearst, who was kidnapped, abused, brainwashed, and suffered from Stockholm Syndrome was tried and convicted in March 1976 for bank robbery and felonious use of firearms. Sentenced to seven years, she spent the next three years partly in prison and partly at liberty (during appeals). She was released in February 1979 after U.S. Pres. Jimmy Carter commuted her sentence.