Dangerous Compassions

to know

A long time ago, I wrote a poem about writing letters.  It was called “intimate discourse.”  I gave that title the boot, yesterday.   Now it’s called “penpal.”

I really like the poem.  It says ideas I really want to say about writing letters and how it feels.  Connecting with people who aren’t there.  I like the end.

I thought it would be funny to put that poem in my profile for some penpal sites I’m on.  Then I changed my mind and thought a better idea would be to print it out and cut the poem out small and paste it to the front of little booklets I make to write letters in.

We’re planning to buy a new printer in a week.  Costco has one fifty dollars off staring the 26th.  I feel annoyed they don’t just sell things at a fair price all the time.  My life is more complicated as I wait till the sale starts.  I feel fed up with a lot of things.

But my friend txted me last night from an airport in Colorado.  They were on layover.  They left a contract they had in Iowa a few months early and were on their way home.  I was shocked and delighted, laughing and crying.  A miracle flying home to Las Vegas.  I could tell from my reaction how much I love them.

Yesterday I went with Ming to do a big shop for the Worker.  There was a speaker blaring music by the entrance, a sample speaker for ones they sell.  I felt like the music was hitting me.  Someone bought some clattery things and dropped them into his cart.  I jumped–that sound hurt me too.

Then I was in line and someone told me “watch out” because someone with a big cart was coming by.  It was too much for me.  I went to the van and cried.

I was txting Mom and a close friend.  I told them how I got really anxious and we had to leave the cabin early.  I didn’t explain the extent of it.  Was that a panic attack?  It didn’t get up to 95.  I was more like 90 for around five hours, tortured by my own mind.

That bad of anxiety is a crisis in itself.  I was traumatized by my own stupid terror.  It’s ok to cry.  But if only my mind and body didn’t do all that. 

I felt connected to my anxious ancestors, in a bad way.  So much pain back through time.  The relatives who drank a lot of alcohol and did a lot of drugs to numb the feelings they couldn’t take.  The other relatives who suffered the violence.  It seemed so sad, intergenerational.

Ming paid for everything and wheeled our cart to the minivan.  I was sitting in the passenger seat, crying and crying.  He asked what happened, and I was crying too much to answer him.  I waved my hand, which meant “you know everything.” 

Some guy was standing outside his car nearby, talking loudly on his cellphone.  I listened to everything he said and picked out words and phrases I understood.  I tried to think why “sabe” is knowing something.  I was in anguish and wishing this loud talking guy would go away.  “Yo sabe, yo sabe,” he said on the phone to his friend.

Did he think I was hysterical?  Did he think “it’s ok to cry?”  Maybe he didn’t even see me, though I was ten feet away.  Did he think I was freaking out in a parking lot about some drama, like Ming had hurt my feelings?

This drama is bigger than me–malfunctiony brains, bodies that are so flooded with stress they freak out by themselves: auto-freakout.  The torture of not being able to sleep, so then I get less functional and my needs become more impossible to meet.  Wishing I could knock myself out.  And all the pain going back thousands and thousands of years.

It was more than that also, upsetting me.  Being disabled and told “here, live on an amount of money below the poverty line–good luck.”  Ming was buying me some envelopes for sending out zines and some energy drinks for his narcoleptic self, and I wondered if he was ok paying for them. 

As we get older, things get more difficult, as our bodies get more problems.  We need more money to care for ourselves than a well person, not less.  But we can’t work, so culture says we’re worthless.  We should be glad we’re allowed to live at all.

A comfortable person can buy a lot of take-out, pay someone to clean their house, own a decent vehicle that doesn’t break down every other month, pay for different therapies and medicines.  Ming and I have nothing to spare.  We did well for a long time, but we have debt now. 

Who knew the minivan’s transmission would break again and again.  My prescription medicines are mostly covered, but scraping together some dollars to buy a bottle of tylenol because I have a headache–it’s depressing.

Then there are the people too disabled to get on disability.  At least I could hold onto my paperwork and get through interviews, send the right forms at the right times.  Someone we live with has never received a piece of mail the whole four and a half years Ming and I have lived here–I think I told you.  He can’t even handle having ID!

I wanted to go on that trip to try to heal myself.  “Can we afford it?” Ming asked, as I planned.

“No, not really,” I said.  “We can’t afford anything.  We’re in debt.  But I have credit cards!”

Saber is about knowing because of a latin word “to taste” and “to notice”–before that, Proto-Indo-European for “to try, to research.”  I think it’s like the “sapiens” from homo sapiens.  Thanks, wiktionary.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *