Tuesday May 18, 2021

The gardener in me wants to cook — so why don’t I? And why am I erupting with anger here at the end of another round of grading? I should be pleased and gracious. Instead I behave poorly, in ways that I regret. Sarah and I haven’t had time to communicate much of late. Her parents have come to visit. They’re helping with Frankie as we complete projects around the house. Some of my anger is admittedly distant in origin: anger, for instance, over the Israeli settler-state’s murderous deployment of military and mob violence against the people of Gaza. And of course, anger over the usual ideological bullshit: conservative narratives spewing forth from talking heads, speech-bubbles of blah spreading via News app and word of mouth. Anger about traffic and construction; anger about time-poverty. Hunger for “reality” — as opposed to this dreaded “normal” to which some wish to return. But much of what I’m feeling here — my “negative affect,” as the APA would say — is of a more proximate sort: oikos-derived, interpersonal in nature, inspired by the terms by which I live. Therein lies the dilemma: for what am I to do?

2 thoughts on “Tuesday May 18, 2021”

    1. No, not quite. An attentive reader would see that in its first half, the post is knowingly performing an act of projection, utilizing a classic coping device — a defense mechanism whereby individuals obfuscate matters and displace their anger onto something beside the point (in this case, Middle East politics) so as to avoid confronting true causes. All of this is done openly and self-consciously through the form of the post itself — because the post then course-corrects. I move beyond my initial defensiveness and, in the post’s final sentences, acknowledge a more painful reality: namely, the fact that the call comes from inside the house, i.e., the bulk of my anger stems from an unhappy marriage, a thing about which it is difficult to speak. If you want to reduce all of that to “Hey mother of my child, I’m mad and grumpy with you,” fine. But the point of the post is that I’m angry NOT only, and not mainly, because of Middle East politics, but because our desires have become irreconcilable. Displacement of anger is a thing we humans do from time to time. It’s not a character flaw; it’s not a source of shame. It’s a stage in a process, part of a movement toward acceptance and growth. But by all means, keep trolling and reading ungenerously, if that’s your thing. No skin off my back. Whatever makes you feel better.

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