When I started this blog, there was absolutely no intention for it to be a confessional. I am naturally suspicious of the confessional form. It was going to be about interesting things in the world. There would be politics, and recipes, and serious lady things. (I adore serious lady things.) The Pankhursts would be proud, and since making them proud is one of my central life drivers, all manner of things would be well.
Slowly, insensibly, creep by insinuating creep, it became about me. The inner narcissist stretched itself and hatched its cunning plan.
Perhaps this is not such a bad thing. It could count for Mass Observation, at least. There is the possible balm of shared experience. One of the nice elements of the internet as a whole is the possibility of discovering one is not alone. If I am not the only person with flaky obsessions or critical inner voices or the inability to organise my office, then it is not so bad. That is my hope for this place now, even though the strict rationalist in me says: are you sure that people want to know all these absurd things?
All of which is a throat-clearing way of saying: today is very confessional indeed.
Just now, I am caught in a spiralling vortex of inexpressible rage. It’s been going on for a while, and I’ve been shoving it back in its box and pretending it is not there. It is an impotent, inutile rage. No good can come of it.
It is one of those situations where there isn’t really a right or a wrong. A bad thing happened, and it was out of my control. The person concerned deserves sympathy, not blame. This makes the rage even harder. I cannot direct it at the poor human, who is in dire straits. So out it goes, unformed, inchoate, searching for a target, unable to find one.
The bad thing involves waste, one of my most hated things. I loathe and abhor waste, of food, of time, of thought, of effort. This particular waste is huge, almost beyond counting. The fury at it, which I thought I had dealt with, grows and twists in me, like a vicious, trapped snake. It hisses and slithers and strikes at vacancy.
Fury is, according to the shrinks, one of the most difficult things for women to deal with. It’s a cultural thing: the teaching of sugar and spice and all things nice dies hard. We females are not supposed to be cross and vitriolic; we are cast as the kind and the tolerant, as if the mere fact of having ovaries makes us gentle and understanding.
Also, in my family, rage was not really on the menu. Nicer to be nice, was the watchword. So I have no muscle memory of how to deal with howling furies.
I have done it before, not that long ago. I got through that one, although I can’t quite recall how. I wish I could remember. I think: I should have written it down, so now I could have a manual to which I could refer.
It feels as if I am in the grip of an overwhelming, pointless anger, all dressed up with nowhere to go, and I don’t know what to do with it. I feel it in my shoulders, tightening round my head in a vice, crawling up my back with a visceral ache.
I’ll talk myself down. Every day, I suppose, one has to do a little anger management. I’ll remind myself that it’s just a thing, that I have all my arms and legs, that there are the miracles of my opposable thumbs, that I am not living under bombardment in Syria. I’ll take those big ragged breaths and let it go.
Tiny bit by tiny bit, I shall regain my equilibrium, if I concentrate very, very hard. It’s big work, keeping one’s brain sane. It’s like working with a horse. Just as you cannot expect an animal to behave well and know how to do things if you do not school it and teach it and remind it, you cannot expect your rational self to go on chugging along without some serious care and attention.
This annoys me, because I’ve got work to do, and errands to run, and family to attend to. I’d like to click my fingers and make everything better. But I can’t bloody do that, so I have to sit down and sharpen up and work out a proper plan, to put these flinging furies back into their box, where they will no longer assail and exhaust me.
No time for pictures now; I am going to fetch my dear old mum from the hospital. So here is a quick shot of my Number One Sanity Device, with her sweet furry neck and her wibbly lower lip and and her absolute, profound, healing loveliness:
It is very hard to be cross when I am gazing on that dear face.