Sometimes I think life is too stressful and we’re all too angry and we all need to just breathe and link arms and teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. And then I come across a rant like this, on Bitch, PhD. (I’ll stop for a second so you can go read it, if you want. By the way, my favorite part of it is this, in regard to the AIG bonuses: “This tearing the doors off the barn and then running around trying to figure out how to Teach a Lesson to the cow that wandered into the kitchen is stupid bullshit, unworthy of anyone over the age of three. Put some goddamn fucking doors on the goddamn barn. That one cow isn't any different than any of the others, if you were a cow you wouldn't be either, and even if you shoot it in the head your kitchen is still going to be a mess and a different cow is going to wander in tomorrow.”)
I read a rant like this, and I think, no, you know what? NO. America, we have every damn right to be angry. Yeah, I’m tired of being pissed off at things, but the world is not all lollipops and rainbows. There’s a reason I’m pissed off. And as someone I’m too lazy to look up and cite properly once said, “If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.”
I’m pissed off and I’m sleep deprived, and I have no time to tie my own shoes. If I get my kid off to school each day with her hair oiled and combed and her teeth brushed and her face clean, I consider that a victory every damn day. I’m here to say I’m tired, man, and I’m not going to sugar coat it. I get up every day and do what I’m supposed to do, and nobody throws me a parade or gives me my own reality show for doing so. The economy is essentially flushing itself down the toilet and scaring me for the future of my children and yours, and I get up every morning and plow ahead anyway – that is the real story. Me and all of you like me, who don’t expect to get something for nothing, who don’t hang your hopes on some bullshit system – you get up and you grumble a little bit and you try to raise your kids the best way you know how. You try to be the best person you can be. You think about your parents, your grandparents, about people you know who have faced some of the worst horrors imaginable and come out – not whole, exactly, but with a kind of fractured intactness, and they function in the world, and they interact with people like you, and they think you are some crybaby fussypots for thinking these times are bad.
The sun rises. I get up. I have a job, I have a home, I have food. My kids are healthy and thriving. My bed is very comfortable. My husband calls upstairs to me that he’s leaving and it’s late.
I get up. The news is blaring, and the news ain’t good. I wipe bums, I pack lunchboxes, I put on lipstick. I drive through Los Angeles, explaining to my oldest the nuances of 6-year-old behavior on the playground. I kiss her as I drop her off. I almost get sideswiped by a black Escalade. I drop off the baby. I stop at the door and go back to kiss her again. I drive off. Passing the Metro station, I see an old woman with a shock of white hair and a white beard stumping around painfully, slowly pushing an overstuffed collapsible grocery carrier. I watch passersby avoid her. At work, I find out that requests to our internal emergency fund (for families who need immediate financial assistance due to eviction or job loss or relocation due to family violence) are up 75% over this time last year. At the same time, funding – from government sources and from private donors - is down.
You think, “What small thing can I do to make a difference?”
You get up.