Carol Scudder

Open To Stuff....

Storm-blocked and other-wise blocked (and masochism - a dish best rejected)

I've been blocked by this storm. Well ... not really the storm - but the circumstances around the storm and before the storm and Lord knows what else.
Part of it is my foot - feet. I've got a three week old broken toe on my left foot - and a one week old sprained ankle on my right foot. Both healing well, but making me less spry than usual.
And then there was this Hurricane Sandy/Weather Event/Frankenstorm - that snatched my city (and other cities & towns too) bald-headed then twirled it high and let it fly - to land willy-nilly whichever-way, where it twitches still, in a cold, damp, hungry, limited subways/gasoline/potable water/electrical power/ heap.
Sure. Lots of us never lost power - or we have that power back now. And lots of us had no damage or little damage. Most of us even. But the number of people not so lucky - the areas where damage roamed free, King Kong, Zeus and Aqua Man on a bender - they got slammed. Really, really bad. Fires. Nearly all of Breezy Point burned to the ground. The Rockaways, Staten Island, lower Manhattan, pretty much all coastal and low-lying areas devastated. Countless homes and businesses flooded. And when that water recedes, things aren't just dried out good as new - things are moldy, fetid, ruined. There'll be poison in the air, from the mold, from sewage. It's getting cold too. No heat - no electric - little or no gas. Awful enough if you're a plain ol' healthy person - as in, you don't need a walker, wheelchair, cane, oxygen tank, special medicines - but if you do need any of that, coupled with this? Worse. Way worse. And how about if you have little kids? Also worse. How about little kids with special needs? More and More Awful and Worse.
I have none of those problems. I'm not in an area that was hit. I've got food. Electric. Cable/Internet. Heat. And time. Because all my work for the week cancelled. Tons of time. Buckets of time. Something I've been begging for forever. "Oh if only I had time to really write more! I would do X-Y-Z if I had time. I WOULD!"
OH my god - excuse me, please, while I climb over this moldering pile of masochistic shame to reach the keyboard of my computer so I can type this confession ... (straining, r e a c h i n g through the gloopy goo ... OK ... here goes) - I HAVE NOT USED MY TIME WELL.
OH MY GOD - I am such an asshole, a loser, a faker, an asshole time-wasting-loser wretched waster.  Jesus. I disgust me.
There. Drink it in.
Feel better Carol? To finally "tell the truth"?
No. Turns out I don't.
Turns out the masochism - which I just gave in to, is no more pleasurable than being yelled at, peed on, or hit. (I've never thought any of that sounded too swell - don't want to ruin it for you though - if that's your deal. I don't like tripe or chicken gizzards either - but don't let that stop you from chowing down) -- so anyway -- all this to say ....
Over the past couple of days, I'd sit down to write, and nothing - but nothing - would emerge. And then I'd hop on the Facebook - the NY Times - Salon - and read stuff, cross reference, post something, answer another post - read something else, and so on. (not that I've never done that before, but I can usually pull myself out of it -- not this week though) And I'm trying to sort out why. Here with you. If you're here. If not - well then just by myself.
There's reasons deep dark and complex for why I don't always do what I ought - want - and apparently also don't want - to do. Or - more accurately - why do I sometimes go towards the masochism. Why don't I do everything I can to give myself an abundant life? I'm picking my way through all that with my analyst. (yes - me on a couch - her in a chair - twice a week) - so I won't go into the whole long "fear of success" "don't want to fully separate from my family" "If I'm successful by accident - e.g. 'discovered' - then it's not my fault and they won't try to kill me" stuff. (seriously - it's all that - and more - I kid you not - don't judge - I'm rubber and you? Are glue) --
But instead - I'll just say this. I underestimated the impact. The impact of this event, even if it had little or no direct impact, on me.
Yes. Like 9/11. It's similar. That also shook us to the core, and showed how quickly all we hold dear can be decimated. But of course it's also not similar - in that it's less contained, more sprawling - and has no human face(s) to pin it on. No one to curse. No one to hate.
But the relentless unfolding of new jarring stories? That's similar. The readjusting and readjusting as you - I - and we - try to wrap our brains around how long this is going to take to heal. That's similar,

"The NY Marathon will go on as planned." said Mayor Bloomberg. His points about our needing the money etc. weren't without merit, but in a few hours time New Yorkers slammed their fists down on all available tables not under water. "NO!!!!"
And the mayor changed his mind. He never changes his mind. But this time we made him. There's just too many people suffering for us to enjoy standing on the corner cheering. And the only race we need to run right now is the race to fix all that is fixable. Pronto.
Anyway - back to me - (as if I ever left)
I'm struggling to pull myself out of a deep - sticky damned "where the hell is my career?" rut, that I've been in for a long, loooong time. And I thought - with this storm and everything screeching to a halt - that it would be the perfect time to "really get something done".
But it wasn't so easy. People have died. Children have died. Lives are scrambled and smashed. And it reverberated in my apartment. And no matter how "centered" and "separate" and "together" I think I am. I'm not.
What I am though is lucky. I'm lucky that all I have to do to "fix" this is give myself a shake. And write this little potentially self-involved "woe-is-me, why-can't-I get-outta-this-hole" essay. Because I needed to shed some "brain debris". Which like all debris, needed to be cleared out of the way. And now it is.
Toes and ankles heal. Power comes back on. People go back to work. Good things happen everyday. Bad things happen every day too. And masochism is some sticky shit. Attention must be paid.