Will we destroy it?

I am an eternal, relentless optimist.

I cannot help but believe that, no matter how much shit we might have to trudge through first, things will always work out for the best in the end. And I cannot help, either, but to believe in the best of everyone’s nature, no matter how hidden the good stuff may be.

But there is a peril hanging above our heads that my relentless optimism cowers in the face of, even if it tries not to show it. Will we destroy this precious gift we’ve been given?

I can’t bring myself to believe we will, but I also cannot deny the very real possibility. The options for such a deliverance are plentiful. We keep coming up with more. And once they’ve been thought of, surely, they must be resolved. One way or the other. How long until one resolves decidedly not in our favour? Just how many, in fact, lurk, unfinished, in the shadows up ahead, like long snakes we haven’t yet met the fangs of? Could one wrong move be all it takes? We’ve made plenty already, bumbling around into things we had no business bumbling into. Is it already too late? Did we already destroy it, and we just don’t know it yet? Were we already bitten, and now we’re simply waiting for the venom to overcome us?

Life is so resilient, yet so precarious. And faced with the choice of progress or perish, I’m not sure we’re capable of discerning which is which. So what will become of us?

I can only speculate.

Strange times

I’ve been skimming the surface of my life again lately. What am I avoiding?

We are living in strange times. It seems trite to say – what part of the modern era hasn’t been strange? But things seem to be getting stranger. Whenever I think about it, I also can’t help but to think about how tiny I am. A speck, floating on the strange breeze which, one day quite soon, might become a strange hurricane. I have no power here.

I know I have power. And I could use my power, in allegiance with others, to potentially enact some kind of response to whatever strange change is rising. But I’m scared that it will catch me unaware. I’m scared that none of us are predicting it accurately. I’m scared there’s just too much to the story, and that even our best minds fall short. I’m scared it’s going to come down to luck, for almost each and every one of us, which way we get cast by the strange wind that’s coming.

So this skimming I’m doing of late; I think I’m putting my head in the sand. Playing video games instead of living my life, because I feel preemptively trapped and disempowered. As I imagine what decisions I may be called to make in future years, I’m playing scenarios out in my head and regularly finding myself in a hypothetical location where acting in accordance with my values risks my personal safety, and I’m wrestling with the fact that I think, as a mother, I would probably surrender my values for my personal safety. And I don’t like that. Not least because I fear preserving my short-term personal safety could come at the cost of my long-term personal safety. The future is a strange, scary knot.

In part I’m getting way ahead of myself. But, in part, too, I feel like I’ve let myself be left behind. Something is going on in the world, bigger than all the things going on, and I don’t understand it. Not even a little bit. And I’ve sensed it coming for years, and I’ve told myself I was being melodramatic. But now it’s still coming, and it’s closer, and I still don’t know what to do with it.

But that’s not a good enough reason to do nothing.

Child’s Pose

For a long time, there has been this small, tight, red hot ball of rage living inside me, that mostly I don’t go anywhere near. But, every so often, a person who knows exactly how to stoke it will come along with their stick and reduce me to an impotent, sweaty, seething puddle, helplessly burning for a reason I can’t quite pull free.

It’s primal. It’s about survival. It’s incredibly discriminating in its reactivity. It rears up only when, if I don’t rage, I fear I may die from the pain. Because, I’m fairly sure, that pain has nearly killed me before.

The other day, they came along with their stick, although this time they weren’t actually trying to prod me; it was accidental. And my son happened to be standing in front of me waving his hands, saying silly stuff, trying to get my attention, while my brain was frantically trying to process this accidental activation.

The moment my son broke through my stupor, I jumped up, shook my head and said “I’m sorry, I can’t…I can’t…I need a few minutes,” holding my hands up in despairing puzzlement and giving him a useless, apologetic look before walking away.

And as I walked away, gaining a safe distance, the rage ignited, and I stomped my feet as I raced to the bathroom, as far as I could get away from my son. And I closed the door and I banged my palms on the toilet seat a few times, and I collapsed into child’s pose on the cold tile floor.

My son followed not long after, and flung the door open laughing at me, and I said “stop!”, raising my hand as a pitiful stop sign and making firm yet pleading eye contact. And he stopped, mildly bemused.

After maybe ten seconds of my heavy breathing, in child’s pose, on the floor, he sensed the shift as much as I did, and deemed it time to enter. I apologised for my strange, abrupt behaviour, explaining I’d gotten a difficult message that I was struggling to figure out, and my brain had gotten overloaded by all the noise and waving. I was okay now though.

And then we got on with our day. And I can’t say I was at my best, but I’m pretty sure I was good enough.

In these moments, I’m inclined to feel like a failure, because surely I should be able to smile at that silly stick and wave it off. But maybe some barefoot stomping and accidental yoga in front of your 4 year old is what success looks like when you’re living with trauma.

Speciesism

When a horse is either excited or nervous, you can tell. They prance, each step springing upwards more than outwards, nostrils flared, neck arched, tail high, hind-quarters primed for action. The distinction between excitement and anxiety, like for us, is more about context than physiology, so you can’t necessarily tell the difference unless you have some insider knowledge, but either way, they look impressive. Like a tuned-in, turned-up vessel of Nature’s power. To see a horse keyed up like that is often to see it at its most beautiful, and enough to inspire at least some element of awe.

So, why is it then, when I’m excited and I prance down the street, I just look crazy? No-one’s looking at me thinking ‘my God, what a divine creature!’, they’re just giving me the side-eye.

Hospitable to gastropods

I’m pretty sure there is a slug living in my bedroom.

Slugs used to visit my bedroom through a crack in the skirting board. For a long time I didn’t realise because my dresser was there and hid their shiny trails, keeping their secret. But one day I rearranged my furniture, and their slimy nights of debauchery were exposed.

I plugged up the hole.

That was about a year ago. But sometimes I still find a trail that cannot be explained. At first I thought maybe I’m just disgusting enough to have not noticed and therefore not cleaned up the trail prior to the point of discovery. But that explanation became less and less likely as time wore on. I was suspicious, but I checked all the hiding places I could think of that a slug may be hunkered down in, and nothing. I also double checked my plugging handiwork, and searched for any similar points of entry. Nought to report. So I went about my life as usual.

But then, the other day, I put my glasses on, and my vision got blurrier. Because a fucking slug had smeared its mite-infested foot all over the fuckers.

The thing I most dislike about the recurring mystery trails is that they are localised around my bed. I’ve never found any trails on my bed, but they’re always near. And I never find them leading anywhere. So I’m sort of worried there is a slug living under my bed that, for whatever reason, keeps eluding me.

The thing I second most dislike about the recurring mystery trails is that they suggest a slug has been surviving in my bedroom for an extended period of time. Now there is an abundant supply of paper, but the lack of munch marks on the pile of books by my bed suggest the offender has an alternative source of food it finds more…palatable.

...’hospitable to gastropods’ is not the tagline I aspire to for my sleeping area.