I read once about a traumatized baby chimpanzee whose fiercely gripping fingers were briefly pried loose from a trainer’s shirt and then his/her two tiny chimp hands ended up clasped together like glue, so strong was the baby’s instinct to hang on.

This is me, lately. A monkey just trying to cling to something as we’re all propelled along in this shit-tsunami of ever-worsening world events, but I’m scrabbling at ghosts. I’ve been trying to hang on to so many things: my little boys, my not-yet-middle-aged self, a pre-2020 world, a pre-2016 world (even better), a world where there was hope for what a COVID vaccine could solve.

Then there are all the leaking bags of ancient reeking brain-garbage that I don’t want anywhere near me (especially NOW isn’t there ENOUGH garbage already) but I keep hauling them around all the same. The same old stories of worthlessness, station KFKD on full volume. You. Are. No. Good. It would be such a full-bodied relief to lay them down, they have been crushing me under their toxic weight for as long as I can remember, but no. I’ve got them in my chimp grip.

A while ago I wrote how I was hoping for more connection in 2021. Halfway into the year, I’m pretty sure I’m feeling more disconnected than ever. Jaded, angry, sad, disappointed, and honestly just … sincerely fucking lonely, you know?

But maybe more than anything I feel stuck, stuck in my head and in the past and in things I cannot control. Maybe before I can even figure out what’s next, I need to pry myself loose so I have a fighting chance of a better view.


20 Responses to “Human grip PSI”

  1. Corinne on September 10th, 2021 11:41 am

    I’m sorry to hear you’re feeling bad. I know what you mean, in my own way. I don’t have anything profound to say but I didn’t want to read your words and then act like I didn’t hear them. I heard you, and I’m sorry, and I hope it gets better.
    One thought about a pre-2016 world…IIRC you were not very far along in your sobriety journey at that point. So there’s one way shitty 2021 scores higher than 2015. <3

  2. Linda on September 10th, 2021 12:40 pm

    Corinne: that is super super true and worth a lot to me, thanks for the reminder.

  3. Mary on September 10th, 2021 7:51 pm

    You’re not alone. I went to the dentist a couple weeks ago, and he told me 75% of his patients are showing tooth damage from stress. He’s never seen anything like it.

  4. Anna A on September 10th, 2021 8:29 pm

    I hope we can all keep hanging in. It doesn’t feel like it’s getting easier, and I don’t love that the Seattle winter darkness is coming. Hopefully you can start to feel more at peace—everything still feels like A. Lot. right now. Your writing continues to be wonderful and on point. Thank you ❤️

  5. Nine on September 11th, 2021 4:54 am

    Much love and understanding from internet rando #345982.

  6. Heather on September 11th, 2021 10:36 am

    We are all in pain and each in our own variety/flavor of pain. That makes it hard to recognize in others as we each fake it through our days.

    I live with my husband and my nearly adult son and my adorable dog. My daughter is in college nearby and in REGULAR contact. My sister is fairly close and we talk almost daily. My father is a 15 minute walk away. I am deeply lonely.

  7. Katherine on September 11th, 2021 1:18 pm

    Can I offer a book recommendation? It really helped me with the running voice in my brain that rarely had anything nice to say. It’s called The Untethered Soul. It’s a little abstract at the beginning, but once you push through that it gets really helpful. And for some reason I’m sure a shrink could probably explain, the message sank in better when I read parts of it while on the elliptical. Like my whole being had to embrace the message that We Are Not Our Thoughts.

  8. Kelly Olonoh on September 12th, 2021 6:54 am

    No words of wisdom here, but I can relate. And I’m sorry you feel that way. You’re not alone. Hugs to you. Here’s to brighter days ahead.

  9. Lee on September 13th, 2021 4:21 am

    I think this world/culture stress is making us all turn inward where supposedly it would be safer, but then turning inward gets us going with “I’m not good enough.” I am certainly doing this to myself, although I didn’t realize maybe the world is what’s causing it lately. So thanks for that insight.

    And yeah, loneliness is its own epidemic. :/

    You’re doing great to even be aware of it, so hang on to that. :) Hugs.

  10. Kate on September 13th, 2021 8:40 am

    Nothing profound to say, but I hear you. And, same.

  11. Gillian on September 13th, 2021 8:45 am

    Just, same. Thank you for continuing to write.

  12. Shawna on September 13th, 2021 1:15 pm

    I think we’re getting so saturated with frustration and anger towards the selfish morons who won’t get vaccinated or wear a mask because they prioritize their personal preferences over the health and safety of their neighbours, resulting in the loss of freedom and choice for those of us doing the right thing, that we have no grace or forgiveness left for ourselves or the normally-minor infractions we see others committing.

    I was surprised by how angry I got at seeing people parking too far apart when there weren’t guiding lines in a dirt parking lot, resulting in there not enough parking to accommodate everyone at an event this past weekend. It was such a small thing that my emotional reaction was way out of proportion, but I think I spend so much time being angry about the big stuff these days that I have a hair trigger on even small stuff. Maybe that’s a contributing factor in why your brain garbage is taking over more than it should, or why you haven’t connected with people as much as you’d like this year?

  13. Donna on September 14th, 2021 7:57 am

    I think a lot of us feel like you do but need you to verbalize it – you help us all. Everyone’s comments help even more by identifying more of the little and hellishly-big things that are eating away at us, creating emotions and reactions that we think are unique to us…..and they’re not.

  14. Elizabeth_K on September 14th, 2021 12:42 pm

    I’m not sure how it helps you but it SURE helps me to read about your experiences and feelings. Thank you.

  15. Carrie on September 15th, 2021 10:54 am

    I hear you…and i always appreciate your honesty, especially when things aren’t rosy. I wish i had a solution. But you’re not alone.

  16. Christina on September 16th, 2021 4:24 pm

    This is so good and true, as always. I read it twice.

  17. gwen on September 20th, 2021 10:45 am

    I’m not sure if this “counts,” whatever that means, but reading this helps me feel more connected. Like, oh, maybe I’m not the only one who feels this way. Thank you for writing it.

  18. Dawn on September 21st, 2021 10:13 am

    Thank you for writing. It’s so tough, but you are doing so much forward motion every day. I admire it.

  19. scott hagg on September 21st, 2021 10:54 am

    You are not alone,
    my wheels are falling off. and I’m hanging on by a thread.

  20. Anne on October 3rd, 2021 4:36 pm

    This. All of this. You are not alone.

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