May 4, 2003

It's all rather easy, once you give it a go.

I really need to learn to stop being afraid of things. There's this switch in me that gets toggled when something very important is pressing on me. This little saboteur inside me goes to work, and I start hiding from things. Deadlines. Promises. Responsibilities. Phone calls. I just duck and cover and wait for the deluge to subside. Knowing full well that it won't. Knowing that things require doing and that I will not escape this. Knowing that consequences are no illusion. And they are unavoidable. Putting it off doesn't rub it out.

And the curious thing is that, once I actually buckle down and get the thing done, it's nothing at all. Or at least it's nowhere near as gruesome as I had been planning for it to be. This has nearly always proved to be true.

I just need to figure out how not to be overwhelmed by things. I so often am. And as good for me as the humbling quotient of that is, it's also immensely disruptive to everything else going on in my life. It's responsible for this underpinning of panic and anxiety that never gets voiced. I can only dream about what manner of pleasant and productive person I would seem to my friends and family if I just got this one major character flaw licked.

I'm not making any resolutions here or anything, but I think the need for change has shown itself.

Also, I was driving the other day behind a new Volkswagen Passat with a home-fashioned bumper sticker taped to the inside of the rear windhsield that read, "George Bush does NOT speak for me." And I felt a sense of solidarity with the folks in the car. I was glad that they share my displeasure in his leadership and that they are not cowed by the bullying of artificial patriotism and McCarthy-esque implications of treason. But then they drove SO VERY SLOWLY, hindering the getting on with my life I had planned for that afternoon. So I had to resign myself to pulling around them and noting to myself that solidarity is not sameness. As much as we may share an ideology or an opinion, we are not destiny-bound to share this road.

I also noticed that cars with those miniature American flags flapping madly out of their windows tend to proceed with the utmost lack of urgency. It caused me to theorize that the flags have a palpable aerodynamic impact on the motion of the vehicle. But then I realized that this was silly. The flags alone couldn't slow the cars down to that degree. Maybe it's a combination of flag-flying and fatheadedness...

Don't despise me for saying that. I'm not against love of country. Maybe I'm just bitter because cars with those flags on them make me envy the child-of-a-diplomat's life I always wish I'd had. Let's all love our country today! And here's an idea: let's do it without pillaging our natural resources, pulverizing our civil liberties, or bankrupting ourselves in the process. You say it can't be done? Well, that's what a lot of people said just before progress happened. You don't want to get caught being a naysayer when everything we wish for comes true, do you? That would be embarrassing!

posted by Mary Forrest at 3:01 PM | Back to Monoblog


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