And now I’m sorry

So I was really mad when I wrote the last blog post. I'm working on not being mad. It's not very productive and it makes you think you're having a stroke all the time. Also, it's exhausting. I have too much to do to stew. I have too much to do to be writing this blog post, too. Accidental rhyming is a sure sign that one's brain is overloaded.

And speaking of overload, this is the time of year when I wish I could issue a blanket apology to pretty much everyone. There are parties to go to and brunches to attend and school events to not forget and first grade homework to work on and third grade essays to write and seventh grade social studies projects to toil over. There are gifts to buy and things to mail and bills to pay. There is a house to decorate so the kids aren't deprived of the holiday spirit, there are travel plans to be made so we can see loved ones. There is a very ill-timed spousal business trip to suffer through. There is a manuscript for my next novel due in something like eight weeks (I refuse to count because I will panic and possibly die).

This is why I need a stack of little business cards that just say "I'm sorry."

My first grader is not practicing his math. He has not found his lost library book. He missed the window for free karate classes. He wore two different shoes to school for two days in a row before I noticed. I'm Sorry cards for everyone!

My third grader is drawing pictures of cape-wearing poop instead of practicing multiplication tables because I am trying to cook dinner and answer first grade questions about tens and ones and answer seventh grade questions about acids and bases and not burn dinner while also answering six emails about teacher gifts while also also trying to stop thinking about where my characters left off in the argument they were having about how to cross the US/Texas border.

I probably won't get my money in on time to anyone's class parent for the big group gift cards they're buying the teachers. But isn't it OK for kids to just make cards and say thank-you for being awesome? We're making You're Awesome cards, goddammit. 

I missed my critique group today so that I could go to a holiday brunch which I ended up also skipping so I could stay home and work on my manuscript but instead ended up writing this blog post to try to assuage my guilt for not getting anything done on time. I'm sorry for my poor time management.

No presents are wrapped. 

The tree is not decorated.

Pretty much no presents are bought. I'm *thinking* about buying some, though. I have a list. A list is the first step, right?

I have not yet purchased graham crackers for the "gingerbread" houses the first graders are going to make next week. I am, in fact, (shhh) trying to convince my kids to skip their holiday parties so that we can go to my parents' house for a few days and I can lay on the floor. I realize the schools hate it when parents do things like this because they lose funding for the days the kids aren't in school. I'm sorry the system is set up that way. I'm sorry the schools won't get money if I try to avoid a nervous breakdown.

There are always 25 things happening at once and yet nothing seems to get done or found or answered. I swear I'm not ignoring anyone, I am running triage. Poorly.

I often think about the people who have their shit together. The ones who can manage a deadline AND homework AND laundry AND feeding people AND getting their $20 into the proper envelope in the proper classroom for the proper gift card giving. I don't really wonder how they do it, I figure that ship has sailed. I do wonder if one day I'll have enough money to hire one of these people to do these things for me. Maybe, instead of figuring out how to do everything at once I should figure out how to delegate.

I just feel guilty

all

the

time.

I feel like I'm failing everybody. And when I do manage to have a few minutes of quiet time to sit and blink, I feel terrible that I'm not spending that time more productively. When I give in and let the kids play their Sonic the Hedgehog racing game instead of doing homework right off the bat, I feel bad. But they *did* just finish seven hours of school. And I *do* have to cook dinner. But I *will* be sorry when they have to take benchmark tests and I get letters sent home saying, "Please work on math every night". That will make me want to cry. 

So. I'm sorry.

I'm sorry to everyone.

And I probably could have done a better job with this blog post, turning it into some kind of feminist empowerment post instead of just an OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING PANIC-WHINE, but I didn't. Sorry!

At least I'm less angry now, though, right? Progress.

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I’m just so angry and that makes me even more angry

I know I'm not the only angry person right now. There is an electric, seething, undercurrent everywhere. Social media, the nightly news, just driving down the street. Everyone is so mad.

And the fuel to this Anger Fire seems to just be getting fuel-ier and fiery-er. Tweet about being pissed off? You get a bunch of RTs and favorites and/or a bunch of trolls calling you a whore (making everyone more angry). Post a rant on Facebook and people gleefully fight with you (making everyone more angry), or agree with you by posting heinous proof about just how right you are (still making everyone more angry).

Everyday there are email petitions: Tell People How Much You Hate This Horrible Thing! Do Not Stand By While This Horrible Thing Happens! 

And email instructions: "Have a Horrible Relative? Here is How to Tell Them They are Horrible!" "Hate Everything? Give Us Money So We Can Buy Ads Telling the World How Stupid It Is!"

Does any of this work? The petitions? The emails? Does it make anyone feel better to throw $10 at a group celebrating/castigating a cause? Does that even help? Do you get the same brain-soothing chemical reaction when you sign a petition as you do when you get 59 likes on a post about how much you hate everything and everyone? Does that achieve anything? At all? Ever?

It's no wonder people are getting killed. It's no wonder there is an insidious and pervasive fear in this country. It's a fucking tinderbox. If people like me – who can usually laugh off anything – are angrily honking in traffic and blocking people on Twitter, how are the other people feeling?

I'm not proud to be so angry. I'm not proud that the tinderbox has gotten under my skin. I'm not proud that my first impulse these days is to think the worst of people. I'm not proud that I've clammed up on my own social media, afraid to talk about the horrible things happening; afraid I will just get too angry; afraid of enraging and engaging with the worst of humanity. It goes against everything I've ever been taught or ever believed. I don't know what to do with these gross feelings. I don't know how to channel them. I want to shout at people STOP MAKING ME HATE YOU. And THAT is certainly not a healthy outlook.

I just see so. much. judging. everyday. And it seems so counter-productive. If you think everyone is doing everything wrong, can you maybe do more than just tell them they're wrong? Educate. But don't educate in a holier-than-thou-you-stupid-idiot way, educate with patience and kindness. With creativity. With empathy. Is that even possible any more? Do people even know what the words "patience" and "kindness" and "creativity" and "empathy" mean?

"You celebrate diversity? Well, you just used the wrong pronoun!"

"Oh, were you abused? You weren't abused enough for it to matter!"

 

"You love women? You denigrate them by calling them beautiful!"

"You support working mothers? Well good job insulting moms who stay home!"

"You're angry that cops kill black men? Step off, you're protesting the wrong way!"

It's too much. It's all too much. Even when we're trying to be nice, there's vitriol. What is happening that makes people act like this? Why does everyone have to be a hero or a villain? Is there just so much hurt in the world that no one can say "Thank you for trying to help, that's really awesome. Here's an even better way you can help [FILL IN APPROPRIATE HELPING MEASURE]? Or is it just easier to yell, "YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG THEREFORE YOU ARE HORRIBLE" and huff and puff about it in some corner of Twitter?

I see so many people right now who think they're being heroic and helpful and really they aren't helping at all. They are just mouthing off, making more noise, adding fuel to the fire. There is no trying to educate or be educated. I mean, I guess I understand why, to some extent. It's not like anyone ever, ever, ever says, "Oh, I'm sorry, did you just point out how I'm a mysoginst? Thank you for that information, I will stop doing that." But maybe that's because we need new methods. Maybe you can't fight assholery with assholery. Or maybe it's the end of the world and no one will ever change and we're all just fucked.

I mean, really, what are we DOING? Just fighting for fun? Or gleefully agreeing while we brandish our pitchfork and torch emoji? Is that what social media is these days? Comments sections? Click-bait articles? Everything just pits people against each other —  or encourages smugness with no valuable education or conversation. And that makes me angry. Which… is that ironic? I don't even know anymore.

The terrible things happening in our world make me angry. But the propagation of intolerance makes me angry, too. And this propagation goes both ways. It is so, so easy to be incendiary. It is so, so easy to forward a snarky email or share a biting quote or add a crying face emoji to a picture of a protest. It is much harder to actually put your actions where your big fucking mouth is.

Have you read Dave Eggers The Circle? Go read it and then tell me we're NOT currently being swallowed by that sarlaac-esque hellmouth. 

I just don't know what to do anymore. I don't want to put my head in the sand. I don't want to only look at videos of hedgehogs. I want to be socially conscious and politically active. But something has to give.

Help me find the people who still care about… anything other than just proving they're right and you're wrong.

Help me stop being so angry.