1 Oct 2008, 4:03pm
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anger & impotence

this past saturday afternoon i biked to the theatre as usual. on the way, two things happened. first, i was nearly doored on se 42nd ave between holgate and gladstone. i was riding as far to the left in the bike lane as possible, to avoid the door zone, but some dude swung the door wide open right in front of me and despite my caution i was about two inches away from getting nailed. why are so many bike lanes in portland narrow and painted right next to parked cars? i don’t know.

maybe twenty minutes later i’m riding through the pearl district on nw 12th ave. i’m taking the lane because it’s lined with parked cars and i don’t move much slower than traffic when there’s so many stop signs and traffic lights. it’s fine–i turn left at nw johnson after stopping at the stop sign there. i’m about five feet up the street when i hear someone behind me yell, “idiot!”

i turn around the and driver who was behind me at the stop sign is in the middle of the intersection with his window down, looking at me. “excuse me?” i say.

“you’re an idiot!” he repeats.

“why?” i ask him. he starts to answer but he’s driving away and all i hear is “you’re the–” before his engine drowns him out. i start pedaling again, and get about to the end of the block before i burst into tears. all of a sudden i feel so overwhelmed by anger and impotence and helplessness and frustration that it’s all i can do to breathe.

i got to the theatre eventually, but that feeling stuck with me for the rest of the night, and i spent a lot of the show lying on my back on the floor of the booth. when i got home (i rode the bus…) i even posted a “missed connection” on craigslist to ask this guy why, why am i an idiot? the only responses i got were from people telling me to let it go, that obviously he’s the idiot, oh and btw pink hair rocks (i’d included some identifying details). i know i should follow their advice. i even know that it’s not about that asshole…

today i started going over my accident (ugh i hate that word) in great, slow detail with a therapist i’ve started seeing. much of the story is so familiar to me that it’s pretty much rote at this point, but she regularly interrupted me and asked for more detail or, more interestingly, to check in with what my body was doing. what my body was doing was holding on as tight as possible to that trauma, holy shit. it was tense and fidgety and at one point i even felt dizzy. it is pretty clear to me that i am not crazy, just traumatized. on the other hand, it’s pretty clear to me that i’m traumatized.

often recently (i guess i mean in the past week or so) my life has felt very calm, quiet and small. i spend a lot of time at home alone during the day because i’m working from home right now and my housemates all have jobs and school. i pet my cat, drink smoothies, walk to the grocery store. but where there should be peace beneath that surface there is not. it wouldn’t be accurate to say that there’s all kinds of negativity “bubbling beneath the surface” or anything like that. that’s not really what i mean. i just know that i have a lot of work to do. that i am carrying a whole lot of shit around with me and i don’t have any peace even when i do have calm and quiet, and small things set me off and make me feel so hopeless. i am trying to be patient with myself and with the world, but it’s hard. it’s not a matter of perspective (i have all kinds of perspective. i know i am lucky that it wasn’t worse, lucky that i have the support of my family, lucky that i live someplace where an ambulance arrived very quickly to take care of me, lucky that the driver didn’t try to escape responsibility, etc etc); it’s a matter of letting myself acknowledge that this has been, and probably will continue to be, fucking hard. it’s affected pretty much every aspect of my life for the past several months. so. there you go.

i would like to start setting concrete goals for myself every week so i have something to work towards and something to get myself up and doing when i find myself acting depressed and alone. in the next week i will:

1) meditate at least three times for at least 15 minutes, and

2) read something that will challenge me intellectually.

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