I’ve a day off work today. The children have a day off school. We’re on lockdown inside the house as a hurricane arrives. This is the first time in recorded history that a real actual hurricane has passed directly over our country (as opposed to the tail end of one). It still has an “eye” and gusts passing 100mph are due to go directly over us.
I spent yesterday in a state of anticipation and a little bit of apprehension. We don’t really know what to expect. It’s technically “here” now, but it’s actually sunny out there even as the winds bend the trees of our garden in alarming angles.
Sometimes when I’m all geared up for something to be really really bad, I get a bit disappointed when it’s not all that bad. Umm … disappointed is the wrong word, but I’m struggling to find one word that sums up what goes on in my brain.
I think it’s about that life narrative thing I’ve mentioned before. Detach enough from your life to start viewing it as a story and then even the really bad stuff can seem to have a place. When all the narrative signals are pointing in a certain direction it can feel slightly jarring to have “and then nothing of great significance or interest happened” be the end of that chapter.
I’m always expecting things of great significance and importance to happen. Whether for good or bad. My life thus far has been pretty narratively interesting, I guess! Even in the bad things. And there’s a connection here to alcohol (isn’t there always?!) – following that narrative thread, it made sense to spend days and nights as a “witty lush” and follow that descent even further to its tragic, but ultimately narratively satisfying conclusion.
I suppose turning things around and recovering from the direction in which I was heading is somewhat satisfying too (I mean to the story, it’s hugely satisfying to my life!), but I dunno … wasn’t I meant to have hit a clearly identifiable bottom first? Wasn’t I have meant to have lost everything important to me so that I could begin the long battle of redemption to gain it all back as a newly embettered person? Instead … well, nothing of great consequence happened and I just made a decision that I wasn’t happy living life the way I was.
I didn’t like the way the arrow was pointed, you see.
Anyway, I’m sure I’ve plenty of “interesting” bad stuff in my future. Unfortunately. Some of the possibilities are ones I don’t think I could live with. They’re too bad even really spend contemplating them. The death of one of my children, for example. To me that’s the ultimate bad thing that could happen. I guess it makes for good tragic story, but in no way that any part of me could be drawn to. The mere possibility of it as an outcome in the universe terrifies me beyond rational thought. I can’t even bear to play scenarios through as I sometimes do with things that scare me. So I’ve no idea how I’d cope. I don’t even want to have an idea how I’d cope.
Speaking of bad things …
There’s a meme going around Facebook at the moment for people to “Me Too” if they’ve been victims of sexual harassment or assault in their lives. The idea is to display the scale of the problem. I’m not joining in.
It’s weird because I believe that people who haven’t lived it aren’t aware of the scale of the problem and they should be made aware of it. But it feels too exposing. I know none of us know whether it’s “just” harassment or if it’s been sexual assault the person has experienced. If assault, how bad? I find myself assuming everyone who’s posting is talking about being cat-called or hit on at work or something “bearable” like that. I find myself, despite my own experiences, actually assuming things are not as bad as they probably are – as I know they are from the statistics. As I know they are from personal experience.
One part of me thinks the meme is a bit pointless, like, isn’t the answer pretty much every woman ever? But then maybe that’s the point. People don’t realise that it’s essentially every one.
As for me, well my story includes that laziest of story devices. You know the one where a “strong heroine” is born through surviving rape. Yeah, that one.
And it’s not even the worst thing that’s happened to me.